The land resources are main means of agricultural production. In XX-XXI centuries the rapid population growth (globally) has resulted to that the availability of suitable land for agricultural activities and the quality of this land were steel the main factors which determining the maximum number of population on the planet .
Now the global stocks of agricultural lands are approximately 5 billion hectares. The arable lands, which are the most valuable lands, make up 1.4 billion hectares. 9% of the world’s stocks such lands are in the Russia, but the country’s population is 2% of the population of the planet. Therefore land resources which suited for agricultural production are an important factor of the competitiveness of the country (as now and especially in the future).
But in modern Russia a number problems hamper the full using of potential of the agrarian lands. Some of these problems (climate) have always been inherent for domestic agriculture. Others have arisen as a result of the transition to market relations.
This article addresses four such issues: the state of fertility, the effects of undertaken in early 90-s the mass privatisation of most part productive agricultural lands (when the land shares appeared), the reducing of the role of land use planning, the incompleteness of information about agricultural lands.
METHODOLOGY AND MATERIALS
The main methodological way of this research is adopted system approach, which is providing the maximum possible the account of all aspects of the problem. Also author used statistics, abstract-logical and historical methods. The materials for this research were normative legal acts, official and other reports and works of other scientists. To a certain extent, the findings and results are based on the experience of the author (he was collecting and was analysing the materials on this topic during all period of land reform in modern Russia). In addition the author of this article was more than 20 years directly involved in preparing the relevant decisions and their correction).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
I. The increase the fertility of agricultural land
The climatic conditions in Russia are rather complicated for the agricultural production. Agricultural land exposed to various negative processes, both natural and anthropogenic. There are the wind and water erosion, salinization, desertification, and other causes of land degradation which cover large areas of agricultural land. For example, the deficit of precipitation is characteristic for 80% of arable lands. The tenth part of the arable land in Russia, on the contrary, is needless hydrated. Over the past 20-25 years the depletion of the soil, especially the arable land, happened; now more than 56 million hectares of arable lands are characterized by the low humus content .
Four years ago the food security Doctrine was approved. Such Doctrine has determined that the weight of domestic agricultural products and foodstuffs in the total volume of commodity resources of the internal market must be not less than 95% for grains, 85% for meat, 90% for milk, 80% for sugar, 80% for vegetable oils and 95% for potato.
The land use optimization is a necessary condition for the achievement of these indicators. Therefore, according to the Doctrine, of state economic policy in the sphere of food security involves the organization of the rational use of agricultural lands. The main directions of these are the expansion of sowing of agricultural crops at the expense of unused arable lands, increase soil fertility, construction and reconstruction of reclamation systems to reduce the dependence of agricultural production from negative natural factors (in addition, the yield on irrigated lands is in the three to four times higher compared with other land ).
The competitors on the world market of food products have very high share of reclaimed land. So in China she is 44%, in India – 36%, in the USA – 40%. However, in Russia (for which the reclamation is greatly needed) the share of reclaimed lands is less than 8%. It is too little. .
Now the Russian agricultural producers are using 9.1 million hectares of reclaimed land (4.3 million irrigated and 4.8 million drained). But early 90-s in the Russian Federation there were 11.5 million hectares of reclaimed agricultural land (6.1 million hectares of irrigated and 5.4 million hectares of drained land). This is a negative dynamics. In addition, the land users in many cases are using improperly even those drainage systems, which were created in the Soviet period (now more than 500 thousand hectares of irrigated lands are not used in agricultural production).
The important step in the development of land’s melioration became the decision accepted in the end of 2013 by the Government of the Russian Federation about Federal target program «Development of melioration of the agricultural lands of Russia for 2014-2020» (read more – ).
In 90-s and the beginning of «zero’s» years the large problem was the lowering state support of agrarian sector. In this period the fertilizers, which were in limited quantities, were not compensating the number of mineral and organic substances, which soils were losing with harvest. As a result of the average annual deficit of humus in arable layer amounted to 0.52 tons per hectare. Also in these years the land users stopped using more than 15 million hectares of agricultural lands.
However, the situation improved in middle of «zero’s». Then the priority national project «Development of agro-industrial complex» was starting. Also in 2006 the Government adopted federal target program of soil fertility , which gave a positive effect.
1. More 4 million hectares lands, which were unused in agriculture, managed to involve in agricultural use. Also the program’s measures prevented the outflow from agricultural using almost 7 million hectares.
2. The lands affected by the accident at the Chernobyl NPP (232.15 thousand hectares) were rehabilitated. Now these lands are involved in intensive agricultural use.
3. The program’s measures had provided the protection against water erosion flooding and underflooding almost 550 thousand hectares. The protection from wind erosion and desertification was covering more 1200 thousand hectares.
4. The program gave several benefits for budget. So only environmental effect from the restoration and preservation of soil fertility is estimated more than 25 billion rubles. .
II. Problem of land shares
Among the problems caused by market reforms the main are land shares.
The mass privatization of agricultural lands was held in 1992-1993. But the problem, arisen in these period (land shares), was not resolved until now. Such privatization was aimed at solving three tasks:
- create (quickly) a private land property;
- stimulate the reorganization of collective and state farms;
- encourage the concentration of land in the most efficient owners.
As a result of the formation of land shares almost 12 million people became the private owners. The privatization covered more than 115 million hectares of agricultural land (61.8% [2, 7, 8] ).
In the 90-s the rules for the use of land shares was regulated not by laws, but by regulations, not having the necessary legal force. However, in 1993 the Constitution of the Russian Federation has determined that the procedure and conditions for the use of land can only be determined on the basis of the Federal law. In that period the government has sought to simplify committing any transactions with land shares. This should lead to a concentration of shares. However, this has not happened – the most common transactions in the 90-s were renting land shares (more than 40% of land shares was in leasing). The lessees of land shares were usually the collective and state farms, from the lands which the shares were formed .
In general, the education of land shares was the right decision. It allowed create a private property in land and afford to start reforms in agriculture. However, this process had a series of errors:
1. Volatility. In the creation of the shares several times changed the rules;
2. The priority of the social aspects is not allowed to achieve the desired economic effect;
3. The rights to shares was difficult to register because in private property was transferred, not the whole land of former agricultural enterprises, but only the productive land, which according to the prevailing order of registration of lands were not separated from other lands. This was done to protect the rights of future owners, but on practical this only is complicating for such owners the registration rights of land.
4. The absence of almost 10 years of the necessary legislation is not allowed to start in the 90-s market of the land share. Later (2002) the rules have appeared, but they were not optimal. The inertia which formed earlier prevents for turnover and now. Also the difficult financial situation of 90-s held back the turnover of land shares.
In addition, the adoption of the Federal law «On turnover of agricultural land» and especially its change in 2005 substantially restricted the rights of owners of land shares for transactions from them . This was one of the causes of the so-called «unclaimed land shares». Basically these are shares, the owners of which took no action on the orders of their land property, inherited by them as a result of mass privatization (according to various estimates their total area is about 25 million hectares [10, 11]). Different suggestions were offered to solve this problem. It was the ransom such shares to state property or the free of charge transfer them to the federal property (as unnecessary property) and other.
But the legislator decided to go another way. He recognized such shares unclaimed. Norms, which entered into force in 2011, should induce the owners of unclaimed land shares to take legal action with their shares. As result a portion of such shares will cease to be unclaimed. But the land shares, which will remain unclaimed, will be seized in the municipal ownership with using the court’s procedures. At the same time, the significance of the solution to the problem of unclaimed land shares through transfer their in the municipal property should not be exaggerated (read more – ).
To date the number of private owners of land shares already decreased from 12 to 9 million people .
III. About the land use planning in modern Russia
Land use planning always been a key tool of implementation of the state land policy. So, “Piscovye land surveying” (scribes – “Piscy” were doing such works) were cementing the lands together with serfs for landlords. The Stolypin’s reform destroyed the peasant community. This reform had included measures by land use planning. In Soviet period, the nationalization of land and the collectivization of the peasantry were also linked with the land use planning and the activity on land accounting. The land use planning obtained the highest rise in the Soviet period, when it had the greatest influence on the land users and the organization of the territory. During the land reform of the 90-s, the role of land use planning was very important too . But some peculiarity was that, the privatization of agricultural lands and other innovations decreased the value and opportunities of the land use planning as a tool for land management.
After adoption the Federal law about land use planning (2001) the works on land use planning were focused on the surveying of land plots and the preparation of materials for the issuance documents of title to land.
But for the last 5-6 years, the legal regulation of land use planning has considerably changed. Now all the work on formation of land plots and the establishment of their borders have moved on from the composition of the land use planning to cadastral activity, which is carried out by cadastral engineers. Also the many scientists and experts are pointing to the lack of the system of management of the rural economy, which would be adequate to the current moment [10, 13].
Currently, however, the role of land use planning may be strengthened with regard to the implementation of food security Doctrine of the Russian Federation. This Doctrine provides for the more rational use of agricultural lands, the increase of soil fertility, the expansion of sowing of agricultural crops at the expense of unused arable land. Therefore, the development of the agriculture sector, the attraction in it investment must enhance the relevance of the on-farm land use planning, the various inventory of land and the works by assessment of the quality of land.
In addition, now scientists and specialists are considering issues about the introduction special agricultural regulations. The development of such regulations should become a part of the land use planning. If this happens, the land use planning will again be a very important tool for governance in land and agrarian sphere.
IV. About the land information
The information support is a necessary condition for organization the rational use and protection of agricultural land.
In Soviet period and in beginning of land reform the main information system which contained the data about lands was state land cadaster. In the 90-s the land cadaster included not only the accounting of land but and her registration. The main task of such cadaster was ensuring the taxation of lands and the management of lands. In that period the developing of land cadaster went in the direction to the creation multi-purpose information system about land. The cadastral specialists tried to integrate in this system data about other real estate. But then it was unsuccessfully . Moreover, at the time other inventories (town planning, forest and water) were. In the 2007 after the adoption law about the transition to the united cadaster of real estate such integration took place.
But such unification of different cadasters led to the great simplifying of the data about agricultural land which were obtained previously. And in present the cadaster of real estate not contains the important information of these lands (so it does not contain data about the structure of farmland of land plots, about the productive specifications of lands and other).
Therefore the data of this cadaster are not enough for the purposes ensure of rational use of agricultural land. In result the united cadaster of real estate is not reflect the important specifics of land as a natural resource which used as the main means of production in agriculture .
In the early 90-s the state monitoring of lands was starting. It became part of the state environmental monitoring.
However, the state monitoring of lands not ensures the full-fledged observation for land plots as for resource at agriculture production and as for fields of crop rotation. Also such monitoring does not cover many parameters characterizing the fertility of the soils. But these parameters are essential for agriculture.
In addition now in the land and agrarian spheres the other observations also are held.
So the parts of the state monitoring of land are the monitoring of fertility of agricultural lands (read more – ) and the monitoring of reclaimed land.
Also monitoring of food security carried in accordance with the Doctrine of food security of the Russian Federation (2010). Such food security is connected with the necessity of a more rational organization of territory. So one of the main directions of the ensuring of food security are the increase soil fertility and crop yield, the expansion of sowing of agricultural crops at the expense of unused arable lands and the construction and reconstruction of drainage systems (read more – ).
In addition four year ago the concept of the development of the monitoring agricultural lands and of the formation of state information resources about these lands was approved by the Government.
Thus, there are several types of observations for the lands of agricultural purpose. But there is the lack of systematic approach in these disparate observations. Possible the formation unified system of monitoring agricultural land will allow create an integrated information base.
But the information resources in the field of monitoring agricultural lands created while only in 4 regions (Voronezh, Samara, Lipetsk region, Krasnodar territory), and in 15 regions works on their formation only started. Such temps of works are very slowly.
Probably the works on the monitoring of soil fertility should be the basis for formation of the system of monitoring of agricultural lands. Now the monitoring of soil fertility is performing the centers and stations of the agrochemical service, chemicals and agricultural radiology.
These centers and stations not only are leading the monitoring of land fertility but they also perform the different surveys of agricultural land (soil, agrochemical, phytosanitary, ecological and toxicological) and the works of reclamation and erosion control. Therefore, the monitoring of agricultural lands, which will be carried out such centers and stations, can provide the necessary consistency in the information sphere of modern agrarian land use.
The materials and the basic conclusions which contains in this article generalize and systematize the results earlier published by its author in various scientific editions ([2, 9, 17-20] etc.). The responses on them received from a number scientists and specialists. Also in this article the results, which previously obtained by its author, are developing with taking into account the rapidly changing conditions in land sphere.
In the period of agrarian and land reforms the state was not able to allocate sufficient funds for improve the fertility. The agricultural organizations also do not have adequate funds for the financing of such works and for the purchase informations about their lands. Currently the situation is improving.
Also the last 2-3 years the state began to take more drastic steps to regularize the situation with unclaimed land shares.
The expected transition from the category of the lands to the zoning of the territories should return the domestic land use planning on the former height.
Finally, in the context of improving the financial situation in agricultural complex the agricultural producers demand the more detailed information of land. The new system of the monitoring of agricultural land should give them this information.
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