The areas for agriculture should be secured. As a rule, agricultural land in East Germany should therefore only be leased.

The federal government stops the sale of its arable land in eastern Germany. Instead, the agricultural land owned by the federal government should generally only be leased, primarily to organic farmers.

The responsible departments of the Federal Government had agreed on this, the Ministry of Agriculture announced at the request of the German Press Agency in Berlin. The decision is intended to curb speculation in farmland and the sharp rise in prices.

It is about areas of BVVG Bodenverwertungs- und -verwaltungs GmbH. After German unification, this had the task of privatizing a total of around two million hectares of state-owned land. The areas were gradually sold to farmers and agricultural companies – but also to investors who did not farm the land, but sometimes speculated with it. Land prices in eastern Germany have risen sharply in recent years.

The SPD, Greens and FDP had already announced in their coalition agreement that they would end the privatization practice. This is now being implemented, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture. “This change of course has succeeded in securing the land for agriculture.” he said. “In the past, farmers have competed with non-agricultural investors when selling land. The privatization freeze should also help to calm the development of lease and purchase prices for agricultural land.”

According to the ministry, the BVVG still has around 91,000 hectares in its portfolio. The ministries had also agreed to transfer another 17,500 hectares to the National Natural Heritage, in addition to the 8,000 hectares already dedicated to this purpose. Now the conditions for the future lease are to be clarified quickly. “Residual sales” of up to 6,000 hectares should still be possible by 2024 in order to fulfill existing legal claims.