Farmers are waiting in Russia for a law that will help them exterminate land speculators

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Head of the peasant economy, General Director of the Research and Production Center Natalya Anushkevich told the press center Mediagroups “Patriot”how Russian farmers confront land speculators.

The total number of agricultural producers in Russia over five years – from 2016 to 2021 – decreased by almost a third, said the deputy head of Rosstat Igor Vasiliev, presenting the final results of the agricultural micro-census. The number of peasant farms and individual entrepreneurs fell from 174.8 thousand to 118.3 thousand, but their consolidation has become a trend – the area of ​​​​the average plot increased by 20%. The number of personal subsidiary and individual households of citizens over the past five years has also fallen by almost 31%, from 23.5 million to 16.2 million households.

Can a farmer in Russia buy land without bidding? What to do with speculators buying up agricultural land? To these and other questions to the host of the Agropak program of the Patriot media center Mikhail Shkonda answered Natalya Anushkevich, head of the peasant (farming) economy, general director of the Research and Production Center.

Federal News Agency |  Stepan Yatsko
Federal News Agency | Stepan Yatsko

The farm of Natalia Anushkevich specializes in the cultivation of Jerusalem artichoke, which she successfully exports even abroad. According to the farmer, the Jerusalem artichoke is called the second potato, only it is more beneficial for the body than the usual vegetable in the diet of Russians.

“This plant is an immunomodulator. Immunity is 70% dependent on our stomach microflora, and Jerusalem artichoke contains the necessary inulin. It costs about 690 euros per gram, medical inulin, pure. In Jerusalem artichoke, this substance is about 60%, depending on the region, much more than in garlic and chicory,” said Natalya Anushkevich.

Growing Jerusalem artichoke in the Russian Federation gives good yield indicators, it is bought with pleasure both on the domestic market and abroad. However, the farmer cannot increase the area under crops, because the owners offer the land she needs at inflated prices, and the terms of the lease do not allow her to recoup the investment.

“We want to expand, but land is not easy to find. There is a lot of it around, but we can’t get it. It is in someone’s property, in private hands. I know this private trader, but he sells it at a very high price, and it is rented out on strict conditions – if the owner suddenly finds a buyer, the land will be taken from us,” said Natalya Anushkevich.

Federal News Agency |  Stepan Yatsko
Federal News Agency | Stepan Yatsko

Land that is suitable for agriculture, said the farmer, is in different parts of the Leningrad region. There are even areas where land for farming is given free of charge – for example, in Podporozhsky, Slantsevsky, Boksitogorsky, Lodeynopolsky districts, but they are very far from the places where agricultural equipment is concentrated.

“The question is not to take the land, but that there was equipment nearby. All our equipment is located in the Kirov region. Therefore, we are considering only the Kirovsky district,” Natalya Anushkevich explained.

On average, the cost of one hectare of land suitable for growing Jerusalem artichoke in the Kirovsky district is 150 thousand rubles. However, neighboring lands, which are adjacent to the farm of Natalia Anushkevich, are offered for redemption for almost twice as much. The farmer does not have such money, and she is ready to lease the land, but the terms of the lease do not allow her to recoup even those investments that are necessary to prepare the soil for sowing.

“In order to cultivate the land, you need to invest a lot of effort, energy and money there. It happens that you prepare the land, rent it, but the equipment simply does not work, it starts to sink, and it is impossible to plant anything in it,” said Natalia Anushkevich.

Such lands require melioration, which is also very expensive. Farmers would be ready to invest their money in land reclamation, but for this they need guarantees that the lease of land will not suddenly stop at the whim of the owner.

The farmer pins certain hopes on the intention of the state to seize agricultural land from private ownership that is not used for its intended purpose. But it is still difficult to judge how serious these intentions are. Natalya Anushkevich sees a way out of the situation in the law on the allocation of land for farmers without bidding, which will come into force from the new year, 2023.

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