Amendments Act on agricultural land approved

The Polish Senate has approved amendments on the Act on land law, which was adopted in April 2016. The amendments focus on simplifications in buying and trading in both state and private agricultural land. The amendments are meant for clarifying and reduction of legal administrative burden so that they correspond to social expectations and ensure governmental policy performance.

One of the changes is that non-farmers will be eligible to buy up to 1 hectare of agricultural property and lands located in the area of cities. Under the previous legislation, non-farmers could only purchase agricultural land up to 0,3 hectare. Also according to the new regulations, the buyer of agricultural land will have cultivate the agricultural land for minimum 5 years before he can sell again (compared to the previous 10 years). Further it will be possible to sell the land within 5 years, but only after an administrative decision of the Agricultural Support Center. The amendments also expands the catalog of eligible people to sell agricultural land. With approval of Agricultural Support Center, it will also be possible for higher education institutions to acquire agricultural land for educational purposes, as well as the state and local authorities can acquire agricultural land for legal and public purposes. In addition, provisions are created which allow the Agricultural Support Center (with the consent of the Minister of Agriculture) to use the agricultural as collateral for financial liabilities. This is done, among others, to be able to finance the activities of a National Food Holding, for which the government has plans to develop.

On May 1, 2016, a 12-year- moratorium in Poland on selling the agricultural land to foreigners ended. With the expiry of this period and upcoming opening of the market for buying and selling of agricultural land, a new land law was issued by the Polish government. The aim of this new land law is to protect the agricultural land against the speculative purchase by investors, regardless nationality, in order also to protect family farms that according to the Polish Constitution are the core of the agriculture system in Poland. More info about the Act on land law from April 2016 can be found here.The law has been subject of discussion between the European Commission and Poland already for some time, because it contains provisions that might have the risk of conflicting with Article 63 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Source: PAP, Farmer a.o