There is no precise definition for an agricultural regulation. However, it is a commonly used term for a notice issued to a farmer who owns their land. By obtaining this agricultural regulating document, the farmer gains access to government-subsidised agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, diesel fuel and a certificate of origin for the crop. The farmer can only obtain the agricultural regulation notice if they commit to planting specific crops like wheat, barley, cotton, and sugar beet following the annual agricultural plan approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform. The farmer is also required to sell the crop exclusively to the state. An agricultural regulating notice is not considered a property ownership deed per se.
Various laws and decisions mention agricultural regulation. Among these are the Agricultural Production Regulating Law No. 59 of 2005 and its executive instructions, amendments via Decree No. 28 of 2014 and Decree No. 14 of 2017, and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Decision No. 8/T of 2006 and its amendment via Decision No. 125/T of 2016.
It is not easy to define agricultural regulation terms from these laws and decisions, as the term can sometimes refer to the Ministry of Agriculture’s annual plan, sometimes to the notice granted to the farmer, and sometimes to the administrative procedure or application for obtaining agricultural regulating notice. Adding to this ambiguity is using terms on official websites such as “agricultural regulating procedure” and “entering into agricultural regulation,” which implies adherence to the annual agricultural plan.
Simply put, the agricultural regulating notice is the document that a farmer who owns their land (and sometimes also raises livestock) obtains by adhering to the annual agricultural plan. This notice allows the farmer to extract another document called the “agricultural licence,” which in turn entitles them to access facilities and guidance, and subsidised quotas of seeds, fertiliser, diesel fuel for agricultural use and feed sold at reduced prices and in quantities that match the size of the land and the number of animals.
The validity period of the agricultural licence is five years and is renewable. In recent years, to renew the agricultural licence, it has been sufficient for the farmer to provide a written commitment that there has been no change in their previous information. If the agricultural plan is not followed, such as planting a different crop, the farmer is deprived of both the agricultural regulation notice and agricultural licence, and financial penalties are imposed.
The agricultural regulating notice is a prerequisite for applying for agricultural loans from the Agricultural Cooperative Bank and receiving compensation provided by the Fund for Mitigating the Impact of Drought and Natural Disasters on Agricultural Production.
To obtain an agricultural regulating notice, a farmer submits an “agricultural regulation” request to the Agricultural Extension Unit in their area, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture. The farmer must have a deed of ownership for their land or a real estate record from the Land Registry or citizen service centres. If they do not have such documents, any of the following documents may be substituted: a judicial ruling or decision with final judgment, a statement of land use for beneficiaries of agrarian reform, a judicial declaration of ownership, a certificate of land transactions for lands that have not undergone delimitation and census, a lease or sharecropping contract, a general or special power of attorney organised by a notary public, a statement of ownership from the land distribution committee for reclaimed lands not yet registered in the names of their owners in the Land Registry, or a retention and waiver statement issued by the Directorate of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform for owners covered by the agrarian reform law in specified and released areas.
Obtaining any of these documents, including the property deed, is not easy for many farmers, often due to the lands not being subdivided. Their ownership remaining in common, the processes of delimitation and census not being completed, the marks of Restraint on Disposal that prevent transactions, pending inheritance disputes, in addition to issues with agrarian reform laws that grant farmers the right to use the land rather than own it.
To resolve these complications, at the end of 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture agreed to accept the physical inspection notice as an alternative to ownership documents when submitting an agricultural regulating procedure. A physical inspection notice is an on-site inspection conducted by a committee from the Agricultural Extension Unit for the concerned land based on a request from the stakeholder.
Due to all these administrative and bureaucratic complexities, farmers’ interest in agricultural regulation in regime areas has declined over the past few years, especially with the reduction in their diesel, fertiliser, and seed quotas and the falling prices of crops set and purchased by the state. Many farmers have seen agricultural regulation as a losing venture, turning instead to more economically viable crops such as vegetables, grains, pistachios and cumin and taking charge of marketing them independently.