No, half of Ukraine’s farmland is not in US hands
“General lethargy and shy silence” in the Milli Majlis. These words are the words of Alexis Jolly, a deputy of the Milli Majlis. A video of one of his speeches during the hearing of a delegation of Ukrainian personalities gathered in front of the sustainable development and foreign relations committees on November 30 was circulated on social networks.
“Almost half of Ukraine’s agricultural land will now be in the hands of American investment funds! “, – criticized Alexis Jolly along with the participants in the discussions.
According to the politician, the question would embarrass his interlocutors. However, the response from MP Yuliya Ovchinnikova and Ecoaction CEO Natalia Gozak shows the first element of the answer: Ukrainian law prohibits a foreign firm from owning any agricultural land. 20 minutes explains why.
Since the war in Ukraine began, foreign domination of agricultural land has fed many fantasies. For good reason, the country is considered the breadbasket of Europe, and we could not hide from you the current results of the war on consumption across the continent. However, Ukrainian law prohibits the sale of agricultural land to foreign companies. Ecoaction executive director Natalia Gozak explained during the hearing: “There is no foreign company in Ukraine that can buy agricultural land.”
Alexis Jolly also mentions the July 1, 2021 law that changes this ban. As our colleagues from La Croix explained at the time, the law was mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to gradually open up the country to encourage growth. Ukraine was one of six countries that banned the sale of agricultural land at the time. However, this law is not an open door to all sales.
2.5 million hectares of land were leased to Ukrainians
According to the Ukrainian agribusiness club (Ujab), he questioned 20 minutes, “the question about agricultural land belonging to foreigners does not arise at all, since the answer is unambiguous, foreigners cannot own such land.” The general director of the association, Roman Slaston, emphasized: “However, they can cultivate these lands on a lease basis, especially in joint agricultural enterprises with Ukrainians. To date, 2.5 million hectares of agricultural land, whose owners are Ukrainian citizens, have been leased. »
Currently, foreigners cannot buy land. It works only through inheritance and “only for a year,” adds Roman Slaston. According to Part 4 of Article 81 of the Land Code of Ukraine, agricultural lands inherited by foreigners and stateless persons must be expropriated within one year. In other words, there is only a one-year period during which foreigners can own land, and then only for expropriation,” UCAB notes.
“Land is considered a national asset”
The law may change from January 1, 2024 with a more open market for individuals and businesses with up to 10,000 hectares of agricultural land. Finally, in the referendum, which is the last stage of the reform, it should be decided whether or not foreigners will be given the right to buy plots of land. “It is difficult to predict whether such a referendum will take place, and since the land is considered a national asset, the chances of such a permit being granted are unlikely,” warns Roman Slaston. The date of this referendum has not yet been determined.
Moreover, companies such as Bayer are mentioned with AFP Factual [auquel Monsanto appartient désormais]Dupont or Cargill have denied that they already own agricultural land in Ukraine.