Agricultural companies operating on the Ukrainian market for over three years would be able to buy farmland which they lease as of the date of the opening of the market, October 1, 2029, Head of the Verkhovna Rada committee for agricultural policy and land relations Mykola Solsky (the Servant of the People parliamentary faction) has said.
“There are more than 1,300 enterprises that have been operating in Ukraine for years, investing in Ukrainian land, infrastructure, creating jobs, and belong, including to foreigners. For this category of legal entities, only those that have been engaged in agricultural business for at least three years in Ukraine, and only for the amount of land that they cultivate at the time the law comes into force, which they have in the contracts,” he said at a briefing in the Verkhovna Rada on Friday.
In the near future, the land committee intends to consider 11 land bills that are registered in the Rada, Solsky said.
According to him, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture is currently considering the introduction of a limit on government support in the framework of budget support for 2020, estimated at UAH 4.4 billion, at the level of UAH 5 million per person or a group of affiliated persons.
Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture Taras Vysotsky, in turn, noted the need to include all the information about state-owned land in the register of the State Service for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre by August 1, 2020.
“By the end of the year, we will enter information on 1 million hectares of state-owned land, and before August we will have to add another 0.5 million hectares. We are in line with the schedule,” Vysotsky said.
He said that it is planned to hold 18 regional forums devoted to the land market.
Agro-Region (Velyka Oleksandrivka, Boryspil region in Kyiv region) plans to buy farmland with the opening of the land market in Ukraine, Agro-Region CEO Kateryna Rybachenko has said. “We, of course, plan to buy land with the opening of the market. The huge problem was that we could not invest in irrigation if the land did not belong to us. If people want to sell the land, we will be the first in line who will offer to buy it,” she told Interfax-Ukraine.
According to Rybachenko, now the company pays an average of $150 rent per hectare.
“We annually invest at least $100 per hectare in new equipment. The plans for the next year, in addition to investing in equipment, are to send funds to buy land if someone has a desire to sell it,” the CEO said.
At the same time, she said that there were no plans to increase the land bank, however, Agro-Region considers it necessary to invest in updating existing assets and ongoing projects.
Agro-Region was founded in 2002. It processes 38,000 hectares in Khmelnytsky, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv and Kyiv regions. The company annually produces 240,000 tonnes of grain and oilseeds. It has two silos in Boryspil and Myropil with a total storage capacity of 150,000 tonnes.
The president’s bill about farmland turnover in Ukraine, which should be published within two weeks, allows legal entities to participate in the land market, acting Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine Olha Trofimtseva has said. “The president’s position regarding legal entities is quite liberal and this is one of the disagreements that exist between us. I believe that certain restrictions, safeguards should be established at the first transitional stage, I advocate a phased opening of the market and, accordingly, its phased liberalization,” she said at a press conference.
According to Trofimtseva, the presidential bill is based on the government’s bill.
“The changes that will be made in it concern legal entities, I think we will see it soon, it will be introduced in the Verkhovna Rada as the president’s bill, but this will be the subject of discussion after the first working day of the Verkhovna Rada, after the formation of the new Cabinet [of Ministers]. This is a question of a week or two,” the acting minister said.
In addition, Trofimtseva said that as part of the land reform, at least six or seven bills will be presented that will be aimed at the normal functioning of the land market.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers in 2018 has transferred 1.46 million hectares (ha) of agricultural farmland to more than 659 amalgamated territorial communities (ATC), also known as merged/unified territorial communities, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has said.
“We began transferring the land in February 2018. Over the year we gave 659 communities around 1.46 million hectares. Next year we will continue the process, so every newly formed, merged territorial community receives agricultural farmland,” Groysman said on Facebook. He added that on December 22 the government transferred more than 500,000 hectares to municipal ownership of 174 ATCs from 20 regions, completing the process for the communities created before 2018.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said the transfer of agricultural farmland to ATCs would continue in 2018 for the 185 communities which were formed in 2018.
As earlier reported, the government on January 31, 2018, adopted resolution No. 60-r on transferring ownership of state-owned agricultural land parcels to newly merged communities. The policy facilitated decentralization of land ownership without changing the current legislation.
Ukraine’s State Service for Geodesy, Cartography & Cadastre began the transfer of land from February 1, 2018.
During the first week, 99% of ATCs signed agreements with the service as the first step for receiving the land parcels.
According to the government, some 485 newly merged communities received 958,900 ha of state-owned farmland in the 11 months of 2018.
The Verkhovna Rada’s committee on agrarian policy and land relations has recommended the parliament adopt draft law No. 9355-5 on extending the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land until January 1, 2020, Oleh Kulynych, who chairs the committee’s subcommittee on land relations, said on Facebook. He said the committee at a meeting on December 18 considered 16 registered bills relating to the extension of the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. The bills offered different dates for lifting the moratorium from April 22, 2019 to January 1, 2030.
“I consider the optimal term to be one year, as proposed by bill No. 9355-5 … As the chairman of the land subcommittee, I proposed to support draft law No. 9355-5 and recommend the parliament adopt the bill as law,” Kulynych said.
The draft law provides that the Cabinet of Ministers by March 1, 2019 develop and submit a draft law on the turnover of agricultural land to the Rada.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as of October 1, 2018 transferred over 938,700 ha of state-owned farmland located outside settlements to 479 (or 72% of the total number) merged territorial communities, according to a posting on the website of Ukraine’s Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry. According to the report, at present, the transfer plan was completed in Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad and Cherkasy regions.
The ministry said that the government would compensate expenses on stocktaking.
“This is a quality transfer, as a result of which the communities receive properly registered land parcels with cadastral numbers, clear boundaries and ready to be taken into the balance sheet. For our part, we expect effective management of this resource by local governments. We will in particular, track the dynamics of rental rates,” First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Maksym Martyniuk said.
In general, until the end of 2018, it is planned to transfer agricultural land to another 183 merged territorial communities.