Cuba is to put more state-controlled farm land into private hands, in a move to increase the island’s lagging food production.
Private farmers who do well will be able to increase their holdings by up to 99 acres (40 hectares) for a 10-year period that can be renewed.
Until now, private farmers have only been able to run small areas of land.
The BBC’s Michael Voss, in Havana, says this is one of President Raul Castro’s most significant reforms to date.
Since the 1959 revolution, some Cubans have been allowed to run small family farms. But most agriculture has been placed in the hands of large, state-owned enterprises.
Our correspondent says these have proved highly inefficient – half the land is unused and today Cuba imports more than half its needs. Rising world food prices will cost the country an extra $1bn this year.
The presidential decree was published in the country’s Communist Party newspaper, Granma.
In it, co-operatives are also allowed to add an unspecified amount of additional land for 25 years, with the possibility of renewing the lease.
Grants cannot be transferred or sold to third parties.