New law in Cuba comes into effect with purpose of increasing island's food production; law increases limit of land given to each beneficiary to 67 hectares from 40 hectares

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

Dec 10, 2012 – Xinhua News Agency

HAVANA , December 10, 2012 () – A new Cuban law on land usufruct came into force on Sunday with the purpose of boosting the island country's food production.

Under the Decree-Law 300 and its accompanying regulations, designed to expand the delivery of state-owned idle land, beneficiaries are allowed to build housing and other production-related properties.

Also, the legislation increases the limit of land given to each beneficiary from 40 to 67 hectares, while including forestry and fruit production in the allowed activities.

In addition, food producers are expected to enjoy tax reductions or exemptions after a new tax law comes into effect in January.

Cuba has an agricultural area of some 6.6 million hectares, and the idle land was estimated at 1.8 million hectares four years ago, when the government began its delivery in usufruct.

According to the National Land Control Center, the island now still has 975,000 hectares of idle areas to deliver in usufruct, and 65 percent of them are infested with marabou, a thorny shrub very difficult to eradicate.

The Cuban government considers food production as a strategic issue. The country spends 2 billion U.S. dollars a year to import 80 percent of the food needed to meet domestic needs.

(c) 2012 Xinhua News Agency

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