Cuba allocates idle lands to farmers
Updated: 2011-07-20 10:25
HAVANA - The Cuban government has handed over 68 percent of idle lands to new farmers, an agriculture official said Tuesday.
According to Anibal Nunez, deputy director of Cuba's National Land Control Center, 77.1 percent of the lands given have been used for food production.
From January to June, 12,795 of the 15,975 land applications had been approved. However, 9,000 farmers who failed to "put the land into operation" within two years had to return the lands to authorities, Nunez said.
The Cuban Ministry of Agriculture is carrying out a "re-inspection" of usufruct land to determine the area of idle lands left on the Caribbean island, he said.
Aiming to increase agricultural production and reduce costs brought about by importing food, authorities handed over the first plot of idle lands in 2008. About 80 percent of food in Cuba is imported at a cost of $1.5 billion a year.