Farmland remains underutilized

  • 2012-10-31
  • From wire reports

RIGA - The Agriculture Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary Eduards Smiltens has presented a draft bill amending the property tax law, which stipulates increasing the tax on agricultural land that is not sown or cropped, reports
In order to achieve efficient use of farmland, the Agriculture Ministry proposes to alter the definition of sown or cropped farmland. Currently, farmland is considered sown or cropped if 30 percent of the land is actually sown or cropped, but the ministry wants this figure raised to 70 percent, the business daily Dienas Bizness wrote on Oct. 29.
If this proposal is approved, the current additional tax of 1.5 percent will apply to very many farmers who have less than half of their agricultural land sown or cropped.

Smiltans says, based on the State Land Service’s data, that farmers’ payments for unsown or uncropped agricultural land varies from about 6 lats (8.57 euros) per hectare in Latgale Province to up to 25 lats per hectare in Zemgale.
Smiltens explains that at the moment many farmers find it more economic to pay the additional tax than to have more land sown or cropped.

The Agriculture Ministry previously said that its priority next year would be the preservation and efficient use of land.
The goal is to achieve that every hectare brings in profit, because only such agricultural land that is efficiently farmed will increase farmers’ individual welfare, said Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma.