Published on A Socialist in Canada, Aug 22, 2022:
The following is a collection of news articles and research papers that detail the longstanding efforts of Western governments and agricultural giants as well as Western financial institutions to lift restrictions in Ukraine on the sale and leasing of farmland. Polls show a majority of Ukrainians oppose any large-scale privatizations of farmland, but the government in Kyiv together with Western governments and financial institutions are working very hard to break down and eventually eliminate such restrictions. The following articles detail this process underway for some years already.
There are an estimated 43 million hectares of farmland in pre-2022 Ukraine, according to Ukraine government estimates in 2017. Of these, some 28 million hectares are owned or leased by small landowners. Current law in Ukraine allows for the ownership of farmland by Ukrainian citizens and also by corporations that are registered in Ukraine. Meanwhile, foreign multinationals have a large ownership in Ukraine of food processing and shipping (ports).
“The food industry in Ukraine includes over 40 sectors; industrial food production is carried out by more than 5,000 small, medium, and large food processing enterprises that produce a wide range of food products. Every year, foreign direct investment in the food industry is about USD 3 billion, which is more than 25% of total direct foreign investments. Global giants that are well established in Ukraine include Mondelez, Nestle, Danone, PepsiCo, CocaCola, Carlsberg, Jacobs, East Balt Bakery, and Wim-Bill-Dann.” — (from Ukrainian Food And Beverages Industry 2020, 32-page report published on the website of the Wallonia (Belgium) Agency of Exports and Foreign Investment)
* A 20-year freeze on the sale of farmland is lifted, with uncertain consequences, Radio Free Europe, Aug 22, 2022
* IMF approves $5 billion loan to Ukraine, Radio Free Europe, June 10, 2022 and read: press release by IMF, June 9, 2022 [Note: There is no mention in either of these two reports of changing laws in Ukraine permitting the leasing or buying and selling of farmland.]
* Ukraine passes simplified procedures for leasing of agricultural lands, published by CMS Legal Services (Germany), April 1, 2022
* Who really benefits from the creation of a land market in Ukraine?, by Ben Reicher and Frederic Mousseau, published by The Oakland Institute, Aug 6, 2021 …While reliable data on who is leasing Ukrainian farmland is hard to find (many leases are not registered), the Land Matrix database lists large-scale land deals totaling 3.4 million hectares by both Ukrainian and foreign companies; other estimates place the amount of land leased by the largest corporations operating in Ukraine at over six million hectares… [The total amount of farmland in Ukraine is estimated at 42 million hectares. Law 552-IX was adopted in March 2020 and ended the moratorium on agricultrual land sales in Ukraine, allowing individuals to purchase up to 100 hectares of land starting July 1, 2021. Both individuals and legal entities (i.e. companies) will be allowed to purchase up to 10,000 hectares starting January 1, 2024.]
* International Monetary Fund leverages Covid-19 economic fallout to create a land market in Ukraine despite widespread opposition, report by The Oakland Institute, May 21, 2020 As a condition for a US$8 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine was forced to lift a 19-year moratorium on the sale of agricultural land in April 2020 …The new law will create a land market in several stages. Starting in July 2021, individual Ukrainian citizens will be able to purchase up to 100 hectares. The second stage begins in January 2024 and will raise the limit to 10,000 hectares and permit sales to legal entities. Foreign individuals and companies, are prohibited from purchasing land, a provision that can only be lifted by a national referendum… [Note: The leasing of farmland, including by foreign interests, is pwermitted by law in Ukraine. Some 15 peer cent of the country’s farmland is estimated to be under lease, incluidng to foreign multinationals.]
* Ukraine to create farmland market this year presidential economic adviser says, by Ben Aris, bne Intelligence News, Aug 1, 2019
* Ukraine adopts land reform, opening up a market to buy and sell farmland, report by Contact Ukraine, May 11, 2020
EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.