Romania no longer wants to limit agricultural land purchase to 100 hectares per individual, including for foreign buyers, from 2014

corn pictureThe Romanian Government won’t restrict locals or foreigners buying farm land to a 100 hectare threshold but plans to keep prerequisites such as agricultural knowledge and experience, according to Mediafax newswire.

In order to buy agricultural land in Romania outside the buildable area of a locality, an individual has to prove basic knowledge in the agricultural field, as well as having worked in agriculture for at least 5 years, and prove he or she has been working on the agricultural plots owned as of September 2013, when the draft law was issued.

The draft law was, at the time, limiting the surface of land that could be owned by one person to 100 hectares, an idea which has been dropped in the meantime.

The draft law however kept the pre-emption rights for co-owners of land, neighbours. If under 40, and with agricultural activities in the same locality, they have the pre-emptive right to buy a piece of agricultural land. The state too will have this right.

The measures aim to bring together small pieces of land with different owners under the same ownership, in order to increase the size of farms and turn them into economically viable projects.

Romania’s land market will be opened in the beginning of 2014, allowing EU citizens to buy agricultural land in Romania as individuals. Currently this can be done solely via a locally registered company. The draft law, when enforced, will be applicable to Romanian and other EU citizens who buy or own agricultural land in Romania.

Earlier this year, the Government announced it was planning to create a so-called land bank to keep majority ownership of its agricultural land, once the ban on buying land in Romania will be lifted for foreigners in 2014.

Foreign companies own some 700,000 hectares of land in Romania, around 8.5 percent of the country’s plough-able area, according to data previously releases by Romania’s Agriculture Ministry.