The Far Eastern Hectare: From Open Field to a Land of Economic Freedom
4 September 2021
The “Far Eastern Hectare” Programme can help stop out migration from Far Eastern regions
Getting a Far Eastern hectare helps people to get settled here [in the Far East, – Ed.] instead of leaving for the south or elsewhere — Nikolay Kharitonov, Chairman of the Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
People who took [the land, – Ed.] are the people who got inspired by the idea itself. We got inspired by the slogan ‘Living and working on your own land’. <…> A person who has land, equipment and government support will never leave the Far East. They got something to hold on to — Natalia Bugaets, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
As of autumn this year, our programme boasts 95 thousand participants and 65 thousand hectares already allocated and used. At the same time, we have received 13 thousand new applications. We can say that 20% of the allocated land plots are confirmed for either long-term rent or property — Marat Shamyunov, Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.
“Far Eastern Hectare” mechanisms have sped up land allocation
The ‘Far Eastern Hectare’ is a programme that made an immense step forward to accommodate people. One can apply for a hectare online or through a visit to a Multifunctional Public Services Centre. <…> You go to the website and pick an available land plot located within the approved area and apply for it. Most importantly, applications are considered within 33 days. <…> Naturally, the conditions matter, too. Is there somebody who would not like to get a whole hectare free of charge for five years? — Marat Shamyunov, Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.
The whole process is getting digitalized – from the person picking a land plot to completing the process electronically — Elena Martynova, Deputy Head,The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr).
Hectare takers for agricultural purposes experience problems with land exploration and getting support
Agricultural lands are absolutely not fit for agriculture. These are old Soviet fields with a big old reclamation system. We keep finding pipes form Yugoslavia. The whole reclamation system is municipal property – we are not allowed to restore it. We are not allowed to relocate the soil deeper than 30 cm. We are not allowed to dig and install a septic system or to recover marshlands. It takes a whole set of approvals — Elena Andreeva, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
36% have got the land for agricultural purposes. They are unable to get government support for agricultural producers (сельхозпроизводителей), because they are not registered in rural areas, which is one of the prerequisites for qualifying for an agricultural start-up — Natalia Bugaets, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
No infrastructure in rural areas
Accessibility by transport and roads in rural areas is something else. If the village is located by a federal highway, it will have a road. But take a step aside, and you will see that it never gets repaired. We have been asking the local administration to repair the land for four years, but for four year we kept hearing: ‘We do not have the money’. I believe that 98% of hectare takers faced this problem, — Natalia Bugaets, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
We need additional infrastructure worth RUB 6.5 billion. In this case, we will be able to cover pretty much all our current needs. It will also give us an understanding that people will apply for new hectares in the places that are scheduled to get new infrastructure under this programme — Kirill Bychkov, First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Difficulties with applying for the land
Our experience has shown that people are not meeting the 30-day requirement set by the law. It has become a problem in all Far Eastern regions. The “Far Eastern Hectare” is most popular in Primorye Territory. Citizens have prepared and submitted over 2 thousand draft agreements, with only 200 signed. Transbaikal Territory has a 1,200/83 ratio. In Yakutia, only 68 draft agreements out of 1.1 thousand have been signed. Magadan Region has 29 submitted, with zero signed. <…> There is a holdout — Nikolay Kharitonov, Chairman of the Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Land exploration roadmap will speed up land acquisition
We need a roadmap that would account for tourism potential and existing regional support measures — Vadim Mamontov, General Director, RussiaDiscovery.
It took us a whole year to set things right, determine what we can build and get all the permits. If hectare takers had roadmaps based on the projected permitted use, it would speed things up significantly — Natalia Bugaets, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
Preferences for hectare takers will help them start earning on the land. Key-turn housing construction will speed up land exploration
It has been 4.5 years. The five-year term is almost up, which means will have to start paying taxes. At the same time, we are still not earning on the hectare. Hectare takers need to have tax preferences. The property tax will be high, as the land plots are big — Natalia Bugaets, Participant of the "Far Eastern Hectare" Program.
It is important to introduce land preferences for those who have explored the hectare and can prove it — Vitaly Lunev, Minister of Property and Land Relations of Primorsky Krai.
The Ministry of Construction <…> considers creating a construction cluster and additional construction capacity. It includes construction of private homes and using prefabricated houses (including wooden ones). It will help speed up housing construction and make it cheaper. It will make construction services more comfortable — Marat Shamyunov, Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.
The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS