Private farmers now work 30 percent of Cuban farmland - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Private farmers now work 30 percent of Cuban farmland

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HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban officials say more than 30 percent of the country's farmland is now worked by private farmers under one of the key market-oriented reforms adopted by President Raul Castro to save the country's struggling socialist economy.

Vice President Marino Murillo made the announcement in remarks published Friday by state media.

He said 1.9 million hectares (7,300 square miles) of underused farmland has been turned over to private farmers since 2008. The land remains owned by the state, but farmers have been given use of it for 10 years, which can be renewed. Murillo said that period will be extended to a renewable 20 years.

Cuba adopted the measures because of comparatively low output from its state farms and to draw more citizens into the countryside.

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