Russian Agriculture Ministry insisting on keeping farmland category in land legislation; agricultural purpose land occupies 393.4 million hectares in nation, which is 23% of country's land resources

MOSCOW , October 18, 2013 () – The Russian Agriculture Ministry insists on keeping the farm land category in land legislation.

"The Agriculture Ministry does not agree with the so-called law on removing land categories," Deputy Agriculture Minister and State Secretary Alexander Petrikov said at a meeting of the State Duma Agrarian Committee in Moscow Thursday.

"With the passing of this law, the draft for which was compiled by the Economic Development Ministry, the concept of farm land will cease to exist."

"We insist that this farm land category be kept," he said. "Moreover, we need to single out a separate group for special purpose land, including for seed production, variety testing and reproduction of genetic resource collections."

State Duma Agrarian Committee Chairman Nikolai Pankov said he hoped it would be possible to keep farm land under special protection from the state.

Agricultural purpose land occupies 393.4 million hectares in Russia, which is 23% of Russia's land resources. Of this, 196 million hectares is crop land, including 115 million hectares of arable land, 18 million hectares of hay fields and 54 million hectares of grassland. Of the 115 million in arable land, 25 million hectares is not used.

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