According to the latest sociological survey of one of the most well-known sociological groups in Ukraine “Rating” – 73 percent of Ukrainians are strongly against land market introduction, and 81 percent oppose permitting foreigners to buy land in Ukraine, while only 13 percent support this idea. 58 percent of respondents believe that farmland should be state-owned, similar to in Israel or Canada. In light of this, we have compiled the following commentaries, from experts and civil society activists, to elucidate the issue.
“I support the idea of lifting the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. At the same time, the sale of land should be not be free, but subject to significant restrictions. These restrictions should relate to the right to land ownership by a single legal person, for instance, when the beneficiary is a single company, as well as the amount of land, regulations on land use, such as crop rotation, use of pesticides, herbicides, organic and inorganic fertilizers, and include regular reporting requirements and inspections of the land quality and restorative ability. Moreover, the person seeking to acquire the land should hold qualifications in agricultural education. The following system operates in the European Union (EU): a land market exists, governed by numerous regulations, the violation of which incurs significant financial penalties. The continued moratorium on the sale of land in Ukraine over many years, enables the development of a corrupt land use lobby.
Yet, the notion of lifting the moratorium on the sale of land and the regulations for its use, should be put to a national referendum. Indeed, the Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that land and subsoil belong to the people of Ukraine, and only they can decide on its use” – NAAS Corresponding Member, Serhiy Nychyk.
“Land reform threatens Ukraine’s national security. In the 1990s, the privatization of state-owned enterprises took place under identical free-market slogans, and caused dramatic economic decline. Every Ukrainian was “robbed” through a voucher system, while those who were able to profit the most, became oligarchs. The Ukrainian people remember this lesson, and will not allow the repetition of this scenario, over the sale and use of land, which is the basis of national wealth. Ukrainian land is a limited non-reproducible resource, being the territory of Ukraine – 72 percent of the territory is occupied by agricultural land. It is the living space of the Ukrainian people and the main means of food production, which sustains the nation. Indeed, according to official United Nations (UN) statistics, about one in every nine people globally is currently suffering from hunger. 72 percent of the territory of Ukraine contains subsoil, which is one of the richest in the world. Ukraine lives poorly, not because it lacks raw materials, or intellectual resources, but because it is plundered by internal enemies. In addition, this land “reform” violates Articles 5, 13 and 14 of the Constitution of Ukraine. Thus, people have started to protest against its implementation. For instance, on 22 August 2019, the First Farmers’ Forum, of 12 regions, was held in Myrhorod, Poltava region. At the suggestion of the ‘Hero of Ukraine’ Stepan Khmara, the resolution of this Forum contains a “categorical ban on the sale of [agricultural] land”. Headquarters for the Protection of Ukrainian Land are currently being established. The main initiators were the ‘Societal System’, the Association of Farmers and Private Landowners, the Agrarian Union, the Fronts of Resistance of various regions, scientists of the Institute of Economics at the Academy of Agrarian Sciences, military volunteers, and veterans of the war with Russia. We believe that the Ukrainian people, as a sovereign, should determine for themselves how the turnover (not sale) of Ukrainian land should take place” – noted one of the initiators of the headquarters, co-coordinator of the “Societal System” Nazar Mukhachov.
In the video message of November 11, Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the draft Law on the Land Reform would be amended for “only Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian companies founded exclusively by Ukrainian citizens will have the right to sell and buy land. Foreigners and companies founded by foreigners would get the right to buy Ukrainian land only if “the people of Ukraine give their consent at an all-Ukrainian referendum”. On 13 November 2019, the Parliament of Ukraine voted for the draft Law №2178-10, which did not consider the rules suggested by the President.
Article from the 1st edition of Brussels Ukraїna Review