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Application Guide for Letter of Approval for Agricultural Structures

Letter of Approval for Agricultural Structures - Application Guide

(1) Introduction
  Under the terms and conditions of land grant, a farmer who wishes to construct agricultural structures (e.g. greenhouses, livestock sheds, hatcheries, fish ponds, store rooms etc.) on leasehold agricultural land must apply to the Lands Department for a Letter of Approval for Agricultural Structures. To facilitate application by farmers, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department ("the AFCD") will receive application forms on behalf of the Lands Department and conduct preliminary processing. If an application involves commercial facilities or Government land, it will be referred to the Lands Department for direct handling. The application is not applicable to movable or assembly structures such as cargo containers or assembly houses.
(2) Exemption
  Rainproof and shading sheds constructed of frame and transparent polyethylene film/shading nets (see examples in Figure 1 to 4 below) are exempted from obtaining Letters of Approval, but controlled environment greenhouses and livestock structures are not entitled to such an exemption.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2


Fig. 3

Fig. 4

(3) Eligibility Criteria

The following factors will be considered when an application for Letter of Approval is processed:

  1. Whether there is a need for erecting the structure(s) from the agriculture or fisheries point of view. The structure(s) must be used directly for farming purposes or related directly to the farming operation.
  2. The scale of production and marketing or selling of produce. Generally speaking, the applicant's farming scale should be commensurate with the structures proposed to be erected in order to substantiate his or her application (*Note1).
  3. The applicant must be the owner of the farming land, a tenant or an authorized user of the land.
  4. There should be no commercial facilities on the farm such as:
    1. Catering facilities such as tea room, cafe, canteen, or restaurant open to visitors;    
    2. Indoor recreational facilities such as game room, karaoke room, mahjong room or assembly/lecture room open to visitors;  
    3. Lodging facilities in the form of holiday bungalow, hostel or guestroom open to visitors; and 
    4. Entrance fee collection point or shroff office.  

     * Note 1: AFCD will assess the economic viability and activities of the farm based on the farm size, types of crops grown and mode of farm operation, etc.

(4) Other Conditions

a.    The applicant must submit a completed application form, a farming plan of crop production (if applicable) and a floor plan of the applied structure(s).


b.    If the structure(s) is used for keeping farm tools and other sundry goods, the size of the structure(s) should be in line with the farm acreage and is usually around 10-15 square metres each.


c.    If the applied building (*Note 2) exceeds 4.57 metres in height or comprises more than a single storey, the applicant must submit a building plan approved by the Building Authority under the Building Ordinance.



* Note 2: Please refer to the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) for the definition of "building".  



(5) Application Procedures
  1. The applicant or authorized person with valid authorization must apply to the AFCD in person. The office addresses are as follows:
Type of Farm Office Address
Crop farm Agricultural Extension Office 5/F, Yuen Long Government Offices,
2 Kiu Lok Square, Yuen Long
Tel.: 2476 2424 or 2656 2333
Fish farm Au Tau Fisheries Office Milestone 27, Castle Peak Road,
Au Tau, Yuen Long;
Tel.: 2471 9174
Livestock farm Farm Licensing Section Tai Lung Experimental Station Lin Tong Mei, Sheung Shui;
Tel.: 2462 7443
  1. The applicant or authorized person must submit the following documents / information when applying for a Letter of Approval:

    1. A completed and signed "Letter of Approval for Agricultural Structures on Private Agricultural Land Application Form" (Form LA01);
    2. A full list of the structures to be constructed as proposed in the application form and their floor plans with details of the use, length, width, height and number of storey of each structure, and a farming plan with details of crop species and cultivation methods (if applicable); 
    3. A lot index plan (Scale 1:1 000) with farm boundary and locations of the proposed agricultural structure(s) clearly shown. Lot index plans are available for purchase at Map Publications Centres of the Lands Department. For livestock farms, land survey documents and layout plans issued by a practising authorized land surveyor must be submitted together with the application form;
    4. A tenant must submit a copy of valid tenancy agreement(s) and a letter of consent from the respective landowner;
    5. Land title information (i.e. a copy of the land registration record issued by the Land Registry). These records are available for purchase at District Land Registries; and 
    6. The applicant must sign an undertaking in the application form to undertake to demolish part or all of the structures as and when requested by the HKSAR Government, and indemnify the Government against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the erection of the structures.

  2. To protect his/her own interest, the applicant may check with the Survey and Mapping Office of the Lands Department to see whether the relevant lot is within development reserve or existing development area before appointing a land surveyor to draw a farm plan. This will ensure that his/her farm investment will not be affected by Government works in future.

  3. Application forms can be obtained free of charge from the offices listed in paragraph 5 (a) above, District Offices in the New Territories and the Lands Department.

Download Letter of Approval for Agricultural Structures on Private Agricultural Land Application Form
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(6)Procedures for Handling Applications

  1. Upon receipt of an application, AFCD officers will visit the farm to check whether there is a genuine need for agricultural or fisheries operation. Recommendations will then be made to the Lands Department. The AFCD will consider each item on the list of proposed structures in the application form and may recommend approval for all items or some of them.

  2. If any commercial facilities are found on the farm in contravention of the eligibility criteria, the AFCD will refer the application to the Lands Department for its direct handling, which might take the commercial facilities into account when considering the application.

  3. The AFCD will make recommendations to the Lands Department for issuing the Letters of Approval in respect of agricultural structures to be constructed on private agricultural land only. For agricultural structures to be constructed on Government land, the AFCD will refer the applications to the Lands Department for its consideration and approval according to the specific circumstances of each case.

(7) The Granting of Letter of Approval
  1. Upon receipt of the AFCD's recommendation on an application, the Lands Department will further consider whether a Letter of Approval is granted. If the application is accepted, a Letter of Approval will be issued to the applicant directly by Lands Department.

  2. If an application is one of the cases described in paragraph 6(b) or 6(c), it will be handled by the Lands Department directly. The AFCD will inform the applicant of this arrangement in writing.

  3. If the application is turned down, the Lands Department will inform the applicant in writing with give reasons given.