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Italy offering families free farmland

Italy offering families free farmland

The government will give land to families who have three children

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Italy’s federal government is taking a unique approach to sustaining rural and farming communities.

As part of next year’s budget, the government proposed a new plan called “Land-for-Children” in English. Under the program, married families who have a third child between 2019 and 2021 can qualify for free government farmland.

Foreign families who have lived in Italy for more than 10 years and have a third child within the three-year window will also be eligible for the land incentives.

The eligible families would be allowed to work the land for 20 years. They could also receive no-interest loans of up to US$228,000 if they choose to build a home on the land.

Gian Marco Centinaio, the agriculture minister, Erika Stefani, the minister of regional affairs, and Lorenzo Fontana, the family and disability minister, support the idea.

The reason for the land giveaways is to help address Italy’s low birth rate.

The country registered 464,000 births last year. That number represented a 2 per cent decline from 2016 and a record low.

Giving growing families access to farmland can help encourage family growth and sustain the ag industry, Centinaio said.

“It is said in Italy there are few children and that help must be given to reverse the trend, and for this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture wants to make a contribution by favoring in particular the rural areas, where people still have children,” he said in an Oct. 30 statement.

The land, however, may not be in the best condition.

The farmland is “what is left at the bottom of the barrel,” Colidiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies, told The Local on Oct. 31.

Gian Marco Centinaio photo

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