Russian farmers have no land for ecotourism

A simplified procedure for transferring agricultural land to tourism development is being discussed

Ecotourism is gaining popularity all over the world today.

In the era of global urbanization, going to a farm, seeing animals, drinking fresh milk is a vacation that thousands of city dwellers would gladly choose.

And for farmers, this is a good source of additional income with little or no expansion of capacity.

However, everything is not so simple here either: after all, agricultural activity does not imply serving tourists.

Did the federal law help?

On January 1 of this year, the Federal Law-318 of 02.07.21 came into force. He amends the laws on tourism and agriculture in Russia.

The bottom line is that now agricultural producers have the right, among other things, to accommodate tourists, organize leisure activities, excursions and provide other services. This does not require any additional permissions.

Moreover, the development of rural tourism has become part of the development of agriculture and also receives state support.

What else is missing?

On paper everything is fine, but in practice there are difficulties.

For example, in order to accommodate tourists somewhere, you need to build a hotel or at least a small house. But for this it is necessary to remove the land on which it will stand from the agricultural land fund.

Otherwise, building a hotel there will not work. And to place tourists in a building that is designed like a cowshed on paper (it doesn’t matter how it looks in reality) is a violation.

In this regard, the question arose of withdrawing from the fund of agricultural lands those that are not suitable for agriculture.

For example, difficult terrain, forest cover, land degradation.

But so far, farmers are not going to be given the right to carry out the transfer of land on their own.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said that this can only be done in agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and other structures, otherwise there is a great risk that any land can be recognized as “unsuitable”.

So the simplified transfer procedure is unlikely to be available to farmers in the near future. This means that the development of ecotourism will be hindered by various bureaucratic problems.

The governor of the Leningrad region, Alexander Drozdenko, also admits that there are difficulties here.

It would seem that everything is simple: he came to the farm, stroked the cow, drank milk.

But a farm is agriculture, an excursion to a barn is tourism, a treat with milk is a restaurant business. And for each type of activity, it is necessary, among other things, to change the purpose of the land.

Which way out?

Vice President AKKOR Olga Bashmachnikova believes that it is really impossible to transfer land from the agricultural fund without control.

However, this does not negate the fact that farmers need opportunities to develop ecotourism. This means that compromises must be found.

For example, to entrust the solution of this issue to the land commissions, which will include representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers themselves, but most importantly, more than half of the representatives of public organizations.

Then you can expect that the process of transferring land will be manageable and fair.