German farmers operating in Ukraine have urged Ukraine’s political leadership not to prohibit foreigners from purchasing land after the launch of the agricultural land market. A letter addressed to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Dmytro Razumkov, Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and the German Embassy in Kyiv was signed by 25 farmers from the Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Lviv, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Odessa and Cherkasy regions of Ukraine. The letter was published by Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Tymofiy Mylovanov on Facebook on January 13, as reported by Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.
The authors of the letter express their disagreement with the regulation which bans companies with foreign founders from buying land. The regulation was included in the first and second readings of the relevant government bill.
The farmers state that the restrictions create unequal conditions for various players and artificially limit competition in the market. As a compromise, the German business owners suggest that companies with foreign beneficiaries that have operated in Ukraine for at least three years should be allowed to buy land.
The signatories claim that prohibiting foreigners from buying land violates the principle of equal state protection of all agricultural subjects, enshrined in Article 13 of the Ukrainian Constitution and Article 6 of Ukraine’s Agricultural code.
“Leased lands are the basis of our farms. If the land market is closed, the fields will be bought by other, possibly competing farms, and we will partially or completely lose our means of subsistence. We have all spent years building our farms and invested hundreds of thousands or millions of euros. We have created many jobs and in most cases we have been the only employers in the town. Many fields have had to be rehabilitated. We have even had to uproot shrubs and trees. The fruits of this labor will then be reaped by others,” the German farmers explain.
They emphasize that such action would send a bad signal to foreign investors not only in the agricultural sector, but also in other sectors of the economy. The current farms will also reduce their investments in leased land.
“We share your fears regarding an immediate opening of the land market to all, and see an initial compromise of permitting the acquisition of land for companies which have operated for at least three years in Ukraine as an acceptable option for all market participants and the state. This would give the companies the opportunity to continue to operate under the same conditions as their Ukrainian colleagues. To potential new investors, this would serve as a signal that they do not need to fear that they will be at a disadvantage in the future,” the farmers point out.