Farmland use rights extended 20 years after violent struggle

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Farmers in Vietnam whose land use rights will expire next year will be allowed to use the land for another 20 years, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said, following a Hai Phong farmer's violent struggle against a local government's illegal land revocation.

There will be no revocation when the current allocation term ends and farmers can have the allocation extended to another 20 years on demand, Dao Trung Chinh, deputy director of the ministry's Land Management Department, told a press briefing on Wednesday.

The 1993 Land Law stipulates that all farmland for short term crops and fish farming nationwide are allocated for a term of 20 years, meaning the end date for many land allocations falls on October 2013.

According to the 2003 Land Law and Decree 181, the allocation term will be extended for farmers who are actually using the land agriculturally.

Chinh said farmland can be revoked before the due date if farmers violate the Land Law.

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He said the ministry is going to issue a circular on the issue.

By the end of 2011, Vietnam granted the land use rights to 20 million hectares (49 million acres) to 35 million recipients. While residential land is attached to permanent land use rights, farmland has been given only limited allocations of 20 years as 1993.

The extension of farmland use rights followed a controversial land eviction in Hai Phong City's Tien Lang District in early January that prompted violent resistance from local farmers led by Doan Van Vuon, now considered a national hero by many locals.

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