The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Monday hosted a working meeting, with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman as a chair, in what ministers, MPs, representatives of line committees of the Verkhovna Rada, heads of relevant associations and unions, experts of agricultural market, representatives of farming enterprises tackled the principles of a land reform.
"We are considering a critical issue with all of you that has always been a platform for speculating. We are talking about a prospect of introduction of the land market and a market model itself. There are a lot of opinions, a number of models... But it is crucial to ensure that the model finally offered if we reach a consensus be basing on Ukrainian interests, the interests of Ukrainian farmers and rural development", stressed Volodymyr Groysman at the beginning of the meeting.
The Prime Minister highlighted that opening of the land market would spur economic development, become an impetus for farming, creating of industrial infrastructure in rural areas and in the medium term would allow the country to change the economy type from based on raw materials to that based on added value.
At that the Prime noted that here is necessary to ensure the process be gradual and to take into account all possible risks. Therefore, according to the Head of Government, the sale should be available only to individuals with Ukrainian citizenship and in the amount not exceeding 200 hectares of land per person. "Herewith, at this stage we strongly object to selling land to foreigners, to opening a land market for legal entities", said Volodymyr Groysman. He noted that the model to be offered should contain clear measures to prevent Ukrainian land from just buying by those who are willing to use that to line their pockets: "If to open up the market, then to do it to promote the creating of a class of true farmers."
The participants aired their arguments to support and to oppose different positions, but generally agreed that the issue cannot be just limited to annulment or preserving the moratorium on land sales. The problem is to determine which of the existing land circulation models would be most appropriate for Ukraine, and only aftermath to embark on discussion of how to introduce that.
Those present at the meeting agreed on existing the shadow land market in the country. First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv cited statistical data containing that in 2016 on non-competitive basis there had been released for use 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land. At that, the starting price of rent per hectare was only 940 hryvnias. Simultaneously, on a competitive basis there had been transferred in use only 42 thousand hectares of land at a much higher price.
On the outcomes of the meeting, the parties agreed to establish an interagency working group comprising government officials, MPs, members of agricultural associations and experts. In the near future the working group will present a concept of the first phase of land reform being developed on solutions elaborated by the Government and taking into account the opinions of everyone who engages in the development of the agrarian sector of Ukraine. In addition, the Prime Minister instructed to draft the Government resolution to prevent abuse on the land market.