As most of the land purchased by employees of the Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) on the planned site of the Gwangmyeong and Siheung new towns turned out to be farmland, there is growing doubt that farmland was used for land speculation. Experts are voicing that acquiring farmland without farming should be managed so that it does not lead to expedient speculation.
Gyeongja Oilfield Farmland Passion Era
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries on the 9th, according to the current Farmland Act, Article 6, Paragraph 1, farmland cannot be purchased without farming. However, because farmland management or regulations are loose, there are many cases of not farming or owning the land even though they pretend to build it.
“When buying farmland, I submit the agricultural management plan to the local government, but I do not have to verify the authenticity because it is only a plan,” said A, a real estate broker who mainly brokers land transactions. However, even if the land is being teased for a while to plant crops, it goes without a big problem.”
It is also a problem that the restrictions on illegal farmland acquisition, which were strict in the past, have been loosened. Originally, if land was illegally bought without farming, ownership was taken. However, as the current farmland law was revised and integrated in 1994, even if it was discovered that no farming was done, the regulations were weakened so that ownership was recognized and resale within six months. Even if it is a simple seedling, or if you plant a crop, it is considered to be farming, so you can move on without a problem.
An official from a landscape company said, “People who buy farmland for compensation usually put plastic on the ground to prevent weeds from growing, and then plant seedlings to make it look like farming without management.” I can see it, but it will be difficult to punish under the current farmland law.”
LH employees are not punishable under the farmland law.
There are many cases of controversy in the process of acquiring farmland due to poor farmland management. Not only the LH staff, but also President Moon Jae-in purchased farmland as a sister-in-law’s site, and described it as “11 years of farming experience”, which became a problem. At the time, the Blue House explained that “actually, Mrs. Kim Jeong-suk gave fertilizers and cultivated them,” but the controversy grew.
Not only the President, but also members of the National Assembly and high-ranking officials have been criticized several times due to the high proportion of farmland ownership. As a result of a thorough survey by the Citizens’ Federation for Economic Justice Practices on the ownership of farmland by the 21st lawmakers, it was found that 25.3% of the members of the National Assembly (300), or 76 people (including spouses), own farmland.
In terms of scale, it was 40ha, and the ownership value reached 13.361,394,000 won. This means that one person owns an average of 0.52ha, but considering that 48% of Korean farms have less than 0.5ha of farmland, this is not a small scale. It was also found that 38.6% (719 people) of high-ranking public officials (1862) own farmland.
Se-hyeong Oh, team leader of the Economic Policy Bureau, Kyungsil-ryeon, pointed out, “If policy makers have unnecessarily owned farmland without actually doing farming, it can be used for land speculation, whether intentionally or unintentionally.”
Farmland turned into a preliminary development site
Since farmland cannot be used in principle except for agriculture, the price of farmland is cheaper than other land. However, as shown in the case of the Gwangmyeong and Siheung new cities, it can be incorporated into a development area at any time, making it a “investment destination that people who know know”.
When farmland ownership exceeds 8 years, rent can be provided, so there are many cases where the company aims for development profits. In fact, according to the report of the Korea Rural Economic Research Institute, only 56% of the total cultivated land area of 1.68 million hectares as of 2015 was owned by farmers (94 million hectares).
Sa Dong-cheon, professor of law at Hongik University, said, “If farmland management is not strictly carried out, it will in fact be reduced to a preliminary development site.”
Sejong = Reporter Kim Namjun email@example.com