law agriculture and food

Advisory and Capacity Development Services on Legal and Policy Frameworks for Responsible Agriculture Investment

Building robust legal and policy frameworks

Achieving food security and nutrition through responsible private sector investment in agriculture is a challenge that many low- and middle-income governments face. Foreign enterprises can provide much-needed capital, jobs, market linkages, know-how, and technology to develop the agricultural sector and improve its contributions to social and economic development. If done badly, however, they can undermine local food security, violate land tenure rights, worsen conditions for marginalized groups, and deplete and degrade natural resources. For private sector investment to work, particularly foreign investment, governments need a robust legal framework compatible with national priorities and local needs that is informed by good international practices and high-quality evidence from around the world. Governments also need evidence-based strategies and policies to support and inform their legal framework for investment in agriculture.

For over 10 years, IISD’s team of legal and policy experts has been providing high-quality advice and capacity development training to governments and regional bodies on how to reform laws, regulations, policies, and contracts in order to promote responsible investment in agriculture and food systems.

Our focus

We advise and support governments in the drafting of model contracts in various sectors, including large-scale farmland investments, agricultural investment laws, legal frameworks for agricultural growth poles and zones, policies for attracting foreign direct investment in agriculture, contract farming templates and laws, and market opportunities for voluntary sustainability standards. 

Our services

IISD’s team is available to provide pro-bono advisory services to low-income governments and regional bodies, free of charge, on:

  • Legal instruments governing private sector investment in agriculture and food systems, such as laws and model contracts
  • Policies and strategies for attracting and promoting responsible private sector investment in agriculture and food systems
  • Market performance trends for key agricultural commodities.

IISD also provides capacity-development services on the above topics in the form of tailored training workshops, cross-sector policy dialogues, and peer-to-peer learning events.

Find out more

This project also includes three interlinked workstreams:

Emerging Policy Issues: This series highlights and explains emerging issues that affect the resilience and sustainability of food and agriculture systems, particularly in developing countries. Legal Tools for Responsible Investment in Agriculture:

Best practices bulletins: In this best practices series, IISD analyzes key legal and policy issues arising from the legal tools used by states to govern responsible investment in agriculture and food systems with a particular focus on developing country and sustainable development perspectives.

Stories of Change:  Through these publications, IISD aims to share the stories of changemakers in its community of practice—ministers, parliamentarians, government lawyers, and other officials—by exploring and demonstrating evidence-based change that has occurred as a result of legal or policy reform.

Engage with us

If you are interested in discussing how IISD can support your government or regional body in achieving food security through responsible investment in agriculture, please send an email to, and we will arrange a call to discuss your government’s needs. Please note, IISD is not able to act for governments in disputes or support live contract negotiations.