Land reform in Ukraine: Should we sell agricultural land or not?

Author : Oleksandr Okhrimenko

Source :

People are robbed by the "defenders of land moratorium", because they are well aware that villagers are very dependent on local authorities and will not complain about the robbery. Therefore, villagers dream of launching a market for the sale of agricultural land, but various kinds of swindlers with deputy badges are against it. To achieve this, they even organized paid rallies "in defense of the moratorium"
21:50, 12 June 2017

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112 Agency

Once again the question of land is raised in Ukraine: this time authorities try to find out – should we sell agricultural land or not? Battles on this topic are so bogged down in lies and myths that it would be useful at least to bring a number of facts.

In the process of the division of land in the 1990s, the majority of the inhabitants of rural areas received land shares, which consist of a share for the construction of housing and economic facilities, as well as for garden and a separate share of agricultural land. As for the land that is used to build housing and make a garden, it has long been possible to buy and sell it. And that is why many villagers sold their kitchen garden shares for the construction of cottages five to ten years ago.

This led to a construction boom that began in 2003. And now many villagers are happy to sell their kitchen gardens and old houses for good money to use land for new cottage construction. It is no surprise. Only disputes we heard concerning why the prices for this land first grow, and then fall. As for the shares of agricultural land, the villagers were deprived of their constitutional right to dispose of their property, and authorities forbid them to sell this land under delusive slogans "to protect their interests."

In fact, the lack of market for agricultural land is, first of all, beneficial to various kinds of frauds, who often call themselves farmers, or local "kings" who for a penny, and often for free, rent agricultural land from villagers, and simply kill this land, acting on the principle: "it's not my own - so it's not a pity". According to official information for 2015, the average rent per hectare of land for a year did not exceed 1000 UAH. It's a very low price. In fact, the villagers are robbed by the "defenders of the land moratorium." ‘Cause they are well aware that the villagers are very dependent on local authorities and will not complain about the robbery. Therefore, villagers dream of launching a market for the sale of agricultural land, but various kinds of swindlers with deputy badges are against it. To do this, they even organized paid rallies "in defense of the moratorium".

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For your information, today in Ukraine about 4 million people have shares of agricultural land. The average size of a share does not exceed two hectares. Very often the land is scattered in different parts. The average age of the owners of these shares is 60 years or more. It is clear that they cannot work on it. Young people also do not seek work on the land, since manual labor is ineffective. But there is also the problem with agricultural equipment. Only about 5% of the villagers have cars and about 2% - harvesters. And this, as a rule, is an old technique. The villagers do not have the money to buy diesel fuel and mineral fertilizers, and therefore they very often borrow both pledging to give back the money after selling future crop. And then there arise disputes and scandals involving bandit groups. This is what our agricultural business looks like today.

In addition, we can say that in Ukraine there are now about 32 thousand farmers who rent and cultivate about 4 million hectares. At the same time, they produce only 12% of grain, about 6% of sugar beet, and about 1.5% of total agricultural production in Ukraine. Most of the grain and meat in Ukraine has long produced a large agricultural business. That's who the real investor, businessman and benefactor of the Ukrainian village. But, big businesses could not legally buy farmland for good price because of different kinds of local "kings". Because in this case, all “reformers” and “fighters for the moratorium” will remain without their "feeder". It would be difficult for them to rent agricultural land from old pensioners for a penny. Instead, Ukraine will receive a real influx of investments, which can be measured in hundreds of billions.

When the land is owned, the big business will not only grow corn or soy, but also build elevators, roads, ports and processing enterprises. Ukraine will receive a powerful economic charge as a result of the development of agrarian business according to European standards, where there will be a new highly effective equipment and the right seeds and agriculture, and it will be possible not only to grow a good harvest, but also to preserve it and process it. All this could be done only by a large business that will know that the land is owned by it, and having this land they can get multi-billion-dollar loans at low interest rates for long period in the US and EU banks. And at the expense of these loans, make the level of technology in agriculture of Ukraine not as in 19th century, as we see now, but improve it to the 21st century level, where new technologies are seen not only in the Internet and space, but also in sugar beet and young chickens.

Ukraine needs this future. But this future is possible only if the villagers finally get the opportunity to sell their shares of land for agricultural purposes to large agrarian monsters. Nowadays we will have squalor with small shares of agricultural land and crooks from the local "kings", and there could not be a "bright future" for Ukraine in this case. If we don’t change the state of things right now, we will roll down in times of poverty and serfdom.

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