Italy’s traditionalist government will give land to those Italian families that will have a third child in an attempt to help fight the demographic problem.
The provision is included in the draft budgetary proposal now under discussion at the Italian Parliament and is meant “to encourage the socio-economic development of rural areas and at the same time to support the family”.
Half of the land slotted for the grant scheme consists of agricultural land owned by the state and not usable for other purposes and the other half of abandoned or uncultivated areas in southern Italy.
According to government sources, the measure was initially proposed by Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio but was also endorsed by Regional Affairs Minister Erika Stefani and Family Affairs Minister Lorenzo Fontana, a former MEP well known for supporting a traditional idea of family, all three of which are members of Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s Lega party.
According to Minister Centinaio, the idea of a “return to the land” is reviving in Italy particularly among young people. In addition, he added, the measure is intended to help those that want to become farmers to get lands.
“It is said that in Italy there are few children and the provision provides help to reverse the trend. For this reason, the ministry wants to make a contribution by encouraging in particular the rural areas, where the children continue to born,” he said in an interview with Italian broadcaster Rai.
The distribution of farmland will last at least 20 years and will concern only families with a third child born in 2019, 2020 or 2021.
Families that have already reached three children or more are being cut off from the measure since it is meant to increase the birthrate, which is particularly low in Italy.
Births in Italy hit a new all-time low in 2017 with only 458.141 new babies, a 2% decrease compared to 2016.
The proposal must also include foreigners residing in Italy for a minimum of 10 years, otherwise, it would be exposed to constitutional flaws.
The incidence of foreign births in the total number of births rose from 4.8% in 2000 to 14.9% in 2012.