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Americans bought a third of Ukraine's arable land


Since the new law on the sale of agricultural land entered into force exactly one year ago in Ukraine, until today three large multinational consortia with American capital have bought almost a third of Ukrainian arable land. The "Australian National Review" stated that those three companies bought 17 of the 62 million hectares of agricultural land, that is, 28 percent of the total arable land of the former Ukraine. The entire area of ​​Ukraine is 603.500 square kilometers (before the special Russian military intervention), and 170.000 square kilometers were purchased.

Customers are "Cargill", "Dupont" and "Monsanto" (which is formally a German-Australian company, but with American capital). Among the most important shareholders of these companies are "Vangard", "Blackrock" and "Blackstone". At the same time, "Blackrock" is a fund that manages assets of 10 trillion dollars, "Vangard" with six, and "Blackstone" with 0,9 trillion dollars.

This Australian media makes a parallel, stating that 16,7 million hectares are arable in all of Italy. In other words, "the puppet Ukrainian government made it possible for only three American companies to own more arable land than one Italy, which is a member of the G-7", writes the portal and concludes that Ukrainian land no longer belongs to the Ukrainian people.

When the law on the sale of agricultural land was passed and went into effect on July 1 last year, the price per hectare was about $2.500, but it soon reached $10.000. Until then, land larger than two hectares could only be rented, and the price began to rise in 2015, when the first hints appeared that the two-decade moratorium on the sale of agricultural land would be lifted.

In Ukraine, there has been a long debate about whether foreigners should be allowed to buy land. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that he plans to put that question to the people in a national referendum. In the midst of farmers' protests in front of government buildings, he used to say: "The land belongs to the Ukrainians." There are terrible stories about Chinese, Arabs or aliens who will take our country away in wagons."

An April 2021 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is one of Ukraine's largest foreign creditors and made the lifting of the moratorium a condition of its then-loan package, predicted at the time that economic output could grow from six percent to more than 12 percent over the next decade, depending on how the reform is implemented.

Despite widespread opposition to lifting the ban on land sales, "justification" was found in the fact that so much time had passed without parliament establishing a transparent mechanism for the sale of land, which was one of the provisions of the 2001 law. In one of the public opinion polls from the time of discussions on lifting the moratorium, it was shown that 81 percent of respondents were against the sale of land to foreigners, while only 13 percent would support such a practice. As many as two-thirds of respondents believed that a decision of such importance for the state should be made in a referendum. More than half (58 percent) believed that agricultural land should be owned by the state, as is the case in Canada and Israel.

Official statistics before the war indicated that about 30 percent of the 43,6 million Ukrainians lived in rural areas. According to data from the US Department of Commerce and the World Bank, the agricultural industry in Ukraine employs more than 14 percent of the workforce, and the export of agricultural products is Ukraine's largest export.

When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, farms were collectivized and owned by the state. After the collapse of the USSR, those who worked on the farms received parts of the land, although it took years to bring them into their ownership. There followed a short period during which the sale of land was allowed, and then in 2001 a moratorium was passed.

Since they were forbidden to buy and sell, many Ukrainians who became land owners in the mid-150s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, had no choice but to rely on independent agricultural production, while leasing to larger agricultural "players" all that is left. In the past, such leases typically averaged about $XNUMX per acre annually. Due to the two-decade moratorium, in many parts of the country, land tenants have become monopolists, and with the entry into force of the new law, they have imposed themselves as the main negotiators for the purchase of land.