Telegraph reports that the Children for a Land Incentive Program, inserted in Italy’s latest budget proposal, aims to give state-owned plots of farmland for 20 years to parents who will give birth to a third child between 2019 and 2021.
Families could also benefit from zero-interest loans of up to € 200,000 if they choose to buy their first home near their new land.
“They say that Italians have few children and need something to turn the tide,” said Gian Marco Centinaio, the Minister of Agriculture.
“That’s why the ministry wants to contribute, focusing on rural areas in particular, where people still have children,” he told the media.
Foreigners interested in the offer must be persons having spent at least 10 years in Italy.
This initiative is just one of the many controversial measures in the latest draft budget being negotiated by the Italian government, which has committed to moving ahead with ambitious plans despite warnings from the European Commission to reduce deficit spending.
The idea is defended by families and agriculture ministers, both members of the far-right party of the League. Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe, with 464,000 births recorded last year, a record for the country.
Lorenzo Fontana, the Minister of the Family, said the supply of land would be limited to married couples.
The Italian state owns half a million hectares of agricultural land valued at 9.9 billion euros, according to Coldiretti, an agricultural lobby association.
Yesterday, the hashtags #terragratis (free land) and #terzofiglio (third child) began to spread on social media in Italy, users speculating on the possible rewards for a fourth or fifth child.