Business

New Bank Set to Auction Abandoned Farms in Italy

Almost 25,000 acres of abandoned public lands will be auctioned to a new generation of agricultural entrepreneurs and farmers.

Mar. 4, 2020
By Paolo DeAndreis

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Ten thou­sand hectares (almost 25,000 acres) of farm­land will be auc­tioned in the next few weeks in Italy, by a newly cre­ated bank.

The Bank of the Lands will man­age the sale of old farms, aban­doned olive groves, wheat fields and unused insti­tu­tional agri­cul­tural lands.

Most of those lands are in the regions of Basil­i­cata, Sicily and Puglia. It is going to be a real chal­lenge for buy­ers there to gather enough money to par­tic­i­pate.- Armando Maio­rana, young farmer

It has been described as a finan­cial and agri­cul­tural effort meant to bring younger gen­er­a­tions to farm­ing and to attract women farm­ers.

The idea is to gather around €130 mil­lion ($141 mil­lion) from the auc­tions and to use that money to help the new farms begin oper­a­tions, accord­ing to Ismea, the main Ital­ian pub­lic insti­tu­tion devoted to the agri­cul­tural mar­ket. The money col­lected from the sales will be entirely ded­i­cated to financ­ing the devel­op­ment of new farm­ing projects.

See more: Olive Tree Cul­ti­va­tion

One of Ismea’s goals is to cre­ate larger and pos­si­bly stronger agri­cul­tural enter­prises. On aver­age, the new farm­ing lots, groves and fields will have an area of 26 hectares (64 acres) — three times the cur­rent aver­age area of 8.4 hectares (20 acres).

The suc­cess of the ini­tia­tive will not come easy, farm­ers have warned.

Look­ing at the offers on the table, the largest auc­tions are located in south­ern Italy,” an Ital­ian farmer, Armando Maio­rana, told Olive Oil Times. Most of those lands are in the regions of Basil­i­cata, Sicily and Puglia. It is going to be a real chal­lenge for buy­ers there to gather enough money to par­tic­i­pate.”

The usual and known hur­dles in putting together invest­ment cap­i­tal in those regions should be over­come, pro­po­nents hope, by the scope and means of the ini­tia­tive.

While the sales are open to any­one, some buy­ers will be able to access sub­si­dized mort­gages that will cover the pur­chase costs up to 100 per­cent.

Fis­cal incen­tives for at least the first two years of oper­a­tion were also announced for the new farm­ers by the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, Teresa Bel­lanova.

The ini­tia­tive is the third such auc­tion by Ismea, but this is by far the largest one.

Raf­faele Bor­riello, head of Ismea, explained that many farms on sale are ready to be put to profit. Some have means and are in con­di­tions that will make it eas­ier for new farm­ers to reach the mar­ket.”

While the restora­tion of old farms is part of the game, the bet is on the energy and the skills of a younger gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers.

Every­one we met to talk about this project has shown us good ideas and invest­ment strate­gies,” Bor­riello said.

The com­plete list of the farm­ing lots on sale has been made avail­able on the bank’s web­site with the spe­cific char­ac­ter­is­tics of every lot.

The par­tic­i­pants inter­ested in plac­ing offers to one or more farm­ing lots will have to reg­is­ter them between April 27 and June 11.





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  1. mpranch says:

    May for­eign­ers bid on these olive groves? Is there an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of this web­site?

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