ASSOCIATION OF AGRARIANS OF UKRAINE initiates campaign #OpenAndWealthyUkraine (#ВидкритаиЗаможнаУкраина)

Open land market – key to prosperity of Ukraine and its citizens.

Campaign #OpenAndWealthyUkraine aims to show that open land market is beneficial for all honest players, i.e. for farmers, landowners and the state. Farmer will have an opportunity to purchase the land on which he works, the owners of land will receive a decent and fair price, and the state will receive respective fair amount of taxes.

Our positive campaign is a reaction to negative campaign of Vseukrainska Agrarna Rada (VAR) called #NoLandSaleToForeigners (#НиПродажуЗемлиИноземцям). This campaign is financed by some of Ukrainian oligarchs which are trying to exclude from the land market their competitors honestly working on the land, all this in favour of the sponsors of this campaign. They divide farmers on the basis of their nationality, not the quality and results of the work, instead of trying to improve overall experience and achievements of Ukrainian agriculture.

Of course, we respect everyone´s right to speak freely and to form public opinion. But within the aforementioned campaign initiated by VAR, questions and facts are intentionally hidden from the community or misinterpreted.

For example, an approach that actively promotes VAR and which foresees a complete ban on the sale of land to foreigners will lead to the creation of a system of inequalities as the first and second-class landowners and farmers will be created. As a result, the second-class landowners will be deprived of the opportunity to cooperate on sale with their most natural partners, i.e. farmers and companies with foreign investments which are already cultivating their land. Who, aside from the current lessees, will be interested in acquisition of an unknown land plot which is scattered around different parts of the land bank? The answer is obvious – only those who do not plan to engage in land cultivation and fair business.

Such artificial restriction of competition among potential buyers will inevitably lead to reduction of the price for landowners. A deformed market will be created in which the minority (oligarchs and raiders) will be the winners and, vice versa, the majority (landowners, agro-companies and Ukraine as such) will lose. And finally, as a result of this approach, the process of strengthening Ukraine’s ties with EU countries will be in question.

Many other arguments can be brought against the approach promoted by VAR, which is currently being supported by some of oligarchs. AAU plans to focus on such arguments to make the discussion more objective.

Contrary to the intentions and views of VAR, we at the AGRARIAN ASSOCIATION OF UKRAINE are convinced that our country is part of Europe and one day we will see it as a member of the European Union, prosperous and successful.

There is a background for this belief – Ukraine has already made the mistake of choosing one path with Russia and as a result, the standard of living of Ukrainians is currently three times lower than that of citizens from other countries of the former Soviet bloc, which chose the EU path. A notable example is the Czech Republic, which is now open to foreign investment, where everyone, including Ukrainian citizens, can freely buy agricultural land. In the Czech Republic there was also a transition period during which there was a restriction on the sale of land to foreigners. But, importantly, the Czech Republic from the very beginning recognized the approach that, when a foreign investor establishes a legal entity in the Czech Republic, such an entity is considered Czech, is subject to the laws of the Czech Republic, it gives employment to local residents and pays the appropriate taxes. In this way, the outside investors could buy land from the outset through a local Czech entity. This approach has contributed to the development of the agricultural sector and the well-being of all its participants – both the country, agro-companies, and landowners who either sell or keep their land, value of which grows.

This clearly demonstrates that freedom, equality, rule of law and free market lead to national prosperity. Conversely, bans and restrictions are route to poverty, dominance of oligarchs and privileged groups that use all privileges for their own benefit.

We firmly believe that not everything can be bought in Ukraine and, in particular, we believe that it is impossible to buy the people´s mind. That is why, by launching an educated and comprehensible campaign #OpenAndWealthyUkraine, we show our confidence that this time Ukraine will choose the right path and will truly blossom at the end of this journey.

In further communication within our campaign we will try to explain that “horror stories” such as “foreigners will take away our earth” have absolutely no grounds. Ukrainian land is located in Ukraine and will remain here. The only reasonable question is whether it will be cultivated properly, and its quality will be maintained and improved. And whether all market participants, especially raiders, will pay taxes properly. And here we dare to say that companies with foreign investments pay higher taxes due to transparency of doing business.

Ukrainian farmers whose business is linked with foreign investment are not trying to seize the land which is cultivated by their colleagues – Ukrainian farmers with local owners. They just want, like all other decent farmers, to be able to buy only the part of the land on which they farm. Of course, if the owners of the land offer them this land. If this will not be enabled, then among the potential buyers of the land from these landowners will be only a limited group of raiders and speculators.

 

Let´s join the #OpenAndWealthyUkraine / #ВидкритаиЗаможнаУкраина!