Thursday 05 January 2012
Farmers going private
Cuba, trying to lure people back to the land and lift food production, has modified a land lease program so that private farmers can rent more land and keep it in their family as if they owned it, farmers said over the weekend.
The measures, adopted at a recent Council of Ministers meeting and not yet announced, are the latest loosening of the doctrinaire communism that has ruled Cuban agriculture policy for decades and were hailed by farmers as a step forward.
Farmers said in telephone interviews they were told in local meetings they will be able to lease up to 165 acres from the state beginning in January, compared with the current maximum of 33 acres mandated in a program begun in 2008.
They said the leases will extend for up to 25 years, compared with the current 10 years, and can be renewed and passed on to family members and in some cases laborers.
Farmers also will be allowed for the first time to build homes on the leased land and make other improvements under a regulation that guarantees the state will reimburse them if they lose their lease.
They had complained that the small size of the plots, short leases and other restrictions hampered production.
"These measures deal with many of the problems we face and give us security in terms of our work," Anselmo Hernandez, one of 150,000 people who have leased 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of land, said from eastern Cuba.
Source: newsroom - farmingnewsdaily.co.uk
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