New amendments were introduced to the Ownership and Use of Agricultural Land Act on 27 March 2012. All agricultural land owners or lessees are now obliged by 31 July each year to submit declarations to the local offices of the Agriculture Municipal Service. The declarations need to point out how the farmland they own or use will be used.
Art 37b. (1) Each owner shall submit a declaration form in the local Agricultural Municipality Service, where the land is located. The Form shall state the possession type and the type of long term usage of the land…
Normally that is not a problem, but it’s yet another administrative burden. The real problem may occur to owners who don’t use their farmland or foreigners who have bought farmland though a limited company and haven’t leased it to a local farmer.
The arguable text of Art. 37c para 3 says:
When there is no consent between the users in terms of the agreement pursuant para 1 as well as for all land that is out of the scope of the agreement, the Commission drafts a plan for distribution of usage of the land, by plots by 15 September each year, in the following way:…
Note that “all land that is out of the scope of the agreement” refers to the farm land that no declaration is submitted for. This means that if you miss to declare the type of usage of your farmland, the government considers it as abandoned and may grant its usage to a third party without your consent or approval. Legally speaking this is private property interference and creates a huge corruption base as well as a base for legal disputes.
The government idea is to make use of all farmland, which is not used right now. The amount of such land is huge since after privatisation in 1990 each farmland plot was returned to 10+ heirs. Some of them live abroad, others because of legal disputes can’t cultivate their land. There are also simply non-interested parties so the farm land is not cultivated.