The concern of governments for producing food in national soil is not something exclusive to the Cuban one. Of course not. Just that, for a country that with very little aspires to do much, it is imperative to minimize imports of things that, along with oil, every day reach a new price peak on the international markets.
That’s why, as part of the update of the Cuban economic model, the agriculture sector must take on the most important changes in order to achieve high productivity levels.
On this regard, since 2008, long before the Sixth Congress of the Party, Cuba passed Decree-Law 259, authorizing the granting of state idle lands in usufruct to entities and individuals. Thanks to this decision, it was possible to exploit good part of the areas that were painfully unproductive, those that were standing out as “green areas” (the green of the marabou bush and of the weeds) on both sides of the highways countrywide.
Four years later, and from experience, it was decided to change this regulation for a superior one, not in it juridical sense but in his scope. This way, the Decree-Law 300, which came into force in the first fortnight of this December and repealed 259, gathers in its letter the intention of paying important debts regarding the easing of granting of idle lands its predecessor was leaving.
The first one, and undoubtedly one of the most important for the leasers, has to do with the issue of the housings. Although in the previous Decree-Law these were recognized as one of the positive things they could count on, the rules for building houses were never written.
At present, however, the procedure referred to his construction, reconstruction, remodelling or enlargement and legalization of houses were set and published as one of four complementary norms with which the new Decree-law 300 is provided with.
Another novelty is that authorizes the building of more than one house for the relatives of the leasers that the work the land on steady basis, which undoubtedly is to tone with the intention of creating incentives for the permanence of the families in the rural areas, and more specifically to attract them towards the agricultural work.
n another order of changes, the Decree-Law 300 authorizes the possibility of granted usufruct up to 67,10 hectares (more than 20 of those who could be applied for previously). As for the initial granting for the one that does not own land, it stays the regulation that it will be only 13, 42 hectares, which answers to the logic of evaluating in a prudential term the performance of the new producer.
It didn’t change either that the usufruct is granted by a term of up to 10 years for the natural persons and of 25 for juridical persons, with extensions for the same lenghth of time in every case. And the fact is that, as officials with Agriculture Ministry have explained in public declarations, the mechanisms of extension are sufficiently dynamic, and those who want to extend the time of usufruct and have fulfilled their contracts, it will be able to do it without any problems.
Another distinction that marks this legislation and its complementary norms is the priority given to the relatives who work the land when it corresponds to evaluate the making of a new contract of usufruct, in case the already signed one extinguishes for incapability or death of the original leaser. Earlier, it was turning out a worry for these workpeople that, in case of a fatality, his family did not have guarantees to be able to continue the initiated work.
Also, at present there is authorized the delivery of state idle lands in usufruct for the cattle rising, forest production and of fruit trees. These last two activities were not contemplated in the previous regulative frame and they constitute a reiterated wish of the producers, who now will be able to associate farming with livestock rising.
The incentives for the planting of trees include also those of financial and credit nature, understanding that an investment in this sense implies a major period of recovery. Here the National Fund of Forest Development (FONADEF) will play a decisive role, which constitutes a state budgetary support to this activity, and it is among the best aspects of these norms.
It remains to be seen then that the changes introduced by this decree, along the prerogatives that for this activity set by the new Tributary Law, manage to impregnate “ other colors ”, more varied and nutritive, to the more than 900,000 hectares of cultivable areas that still need to be exploited properly in our country.