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Ruling Russian party proposes confiscation of farmlands abandoned for 2 years

March 01, 2016, 10:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

There are 28 million hectares of farmland currently idling in Russia

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. State Duma deputies representing the United Russia party have come up with a bill envisioning amendments to the Law on the Turnover of Lands Suitable for Farming, Izvestia daily said on Tuesday.

Specifically, the amendments will make it possible to confiscate the lands not used for the designated purpose for two years. The uncultivated land plots will be put up for sales,

Deputy Nikolai Pankov, an author of the amendments who chairs the Duma committee for agriculture told Izvestia the bill concerns exclusively the farmlands that were mostly purchased in the 1990’s for agricultural production but have never been used for the purpose since then.

"It’s critically important for us to explain to the people the lands in question are not private dachas or the lands occupied by private kitchen gardens or plantations on private households," he said.

"In actual fact, the bill aims to improve the procedures for confiscating the farmlands that were bought up massively for a song," Pankov went on. "The bill spells out the forms and methods of providing incentives for just one purpose, namely, to prevent the idling of land and to put it into proper utilization."

He said Russia had 28 million hectares of farmland idling at the moment.

"If farmland isn’t used for two years on end, it will be put up for sale," Pankov said. "But before it is auctioned off, we find it reasonable to levy administrative fees already after the first year of idling."

Many of the current large landowners bought farmlands up to further sales or resales and now there is virtually now spare agricultural land in this country that could be used by prospective investors who would like to engage in crop farming, for instance.

"We must put all our farmlands into use, particularly at a time when the produce from our fields has a really high demand," Pankov said.

Deputy Vladimir Vasilyev, the co-author of the bill told Izvestia overgrowth on abandoned farmlands often became the cause of wildfires - a problem plaguing some Russian regions from one year to another.

"This problem is really striking and, on top of that, used agricultural lands irritate the local population and cause many questions about why mother earth is misused," he said.

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