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 Also: 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).

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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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