Natalia Shagaida, Head of the Agrarian Policy Department, Gaidar Institute shared her views with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on how the authorities can enhance the relevance of rural family farms in the country’s development.

Large household farms might have already overgrown into registered entrepreneurial forms of agricultural business. Actually, some of them engage in business on a regular basis. According to the census, there are household farms with dozens of head of cattle. Why do not they become a registered business? For a household farm to become a business, the authorities should do quite a lot of things, for instance, to reduce barriers for the small business, motivate them further to get registered as a small enterprise and other. Household farms definitely need a perception of their future and confidence in the development of rural areas.

The government has already taken some measures. For example, it is now feasible to get registered as self-employed and confirm the receipt of income through a mobile app. But in the most remote areas of Russia the Internet and mobile communications are not often reliable. So, it would be useful to envisage the sale of patents at a post office for entrepreneurs for the sum of expected revenues fr om any lawful activities they carry out at their household farms. They fill in a tear-off coupon and send it back to the tax service. At this point, entrepreneurs’ relations with the authorities stop for a while till the end of the year when the sum of the revenues is to be specified and tax arrears are paid via the post office. It would be expedient if this tax is left in full with the rural administration. This would be more convenient for the residents and promote attractiveness of the rural area.

I think it is necessary to make a point to assist rural families in registering their titles to land plots in lieu of land shares either in state property or municipal property in case of registration of a peasant farm enterprise. It is also important to support any cooperation interaction between owners of allotments and farmers who will be responsible for coordination of production technology at allotments and small peasant farm enterprises. We have amassed such experience in Russia. Take, for example, Dolzhanskaya village in the Krasnodar Territory wh ere a backbone farmer was granted a government subsidy to buy a tractor. Presently, he works the land of nearly 40 owners of allotments. The same applies to the production of potatoes and vegetables where not only a tractor alone, but also support in building store cellars on such plots is required.

It is expedient to amend the federal law on peasant farm enterprises in order to limit the number of hired workers. I think the annual average number of hired workers should not exceed the number of members of the peasant farm enterprise. At present, there is no such limit at all.

Amid a lack of government resources to support rural areas, it seems useful to discuss the upper annual limit of aid, depending on budget capacity and applications for support. It would be advisable to provide any support beyond the upper limit sum on a repayment basis. Any applicant who has clearly outlined his/her business plan with the required support substantiated should have equal rights to it.

Household farms and small business entities in general are very important components of the food chain, promoting its sustainability in various critical situations. With them in place, rural areas remain inhabited and residents receive a decent income. In this regard, the discussion of issues at the level of the Prime Minister – from narrow ones (such as how to support household farms) to broad ones (how to facilitate the development of rural areas) are quite important and relevant.