Will Ukraine follow the path of Zimbabwe in land lease legislation?

ASSOCIATION OF AGRARIANS OF UKRAINE (AAU) notes that the bill 3208 “On Progressive Land Relations”, registered in the Parliament of Ukraine, in case of its adoption will lead to the fact that it will no longer be necessary to execute and observe agricultural land lease agreements. If this populist idea is upheld, Ukraine will, in fact, abandon the rule of law and free market principles and have every chance of repeating the collapse of Zimbabwean agriculture and Zimbabwe as a state that began 20 years ago.
In the spring of 2000, Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe sent his armed followers to storm onto white-owned farms. As a result the output of one of Africa’s most prosperous agricultural sectors collapsed and the country was driven to the brink of starvation.
Most of the 5,000 farms owned by the “white” owners at that time were seized to redistribute their land in the name of socialist ideas. More than 4,500 farms with a total area of 8 million hectares of land, which is almost 20% of Zimbabwe’s territory, have been transfered to more than 160,000 households. As it turned out, many of the most profitable farms ended up also in the hands of the ruling elite, including Mugabe‘s wife Grace.
Over the next eight years, GDP contracted 40%, the local currency was sharply devalued, as dollars from exports and foreign investment dried up. In 6 years, the real value of Zimbabwe’s agricultural output dropped by 70%. As a result, the trade balance was minus 20% of GDP.
Hyperinflation reached 500 billion percent in 2008. The economic crisis forced millions of people to leave the country. Already in 2009, the country lost its official currency. After Mugabe was ousted by his own armed forces, his successor Emmerson Mangangwa in 2019 promised to compensate “white” farmers who lost their land through invasion and capture.
The AAU stands for the protection of the interests of Ukrainian agrarians and calls on the legislators not to bring the level of populism in our country to the point of absurdity, proposing to neutralize the basic principles of the existing legal system and international law.
Today, against the backdrop of an epidemic threat and the approaching economic crisis, as the whole world tries to find effective solutions to support business, economic efficiency and well-being of citizens, bill 3208 of 12.03.2020 “On Progressive Land Relations” actually disorganizes the entire agrarian sector of Ukraine. This will lead to the collapse of agriculture together with the infrastructure, and subsequently to the collapse of the entire civil society organization and of the State itself!
This bill proposes to extend the rights of one of the parties to the contract, enabling in fact at its discretion to terminate the contract unilaterally without taking into account the interests of the counterparty. Today, this “experiment” is proposed to be carried out on leases of land and emphyteusis (long term lease). This will allow early abandoning their obligations in terms of land lease, “kneeling” farmers who have invested their money in building, machinery, crops, irrigation. The next step is that no one will be responsible for anything at all tomorrow, and then we will be ALL on our knees!
Indeed, it is difficult for us to imagine parliamentarians and their true motives, which are capable of supporting such an initiative with obvious consequences. We believe that this will never happen under any circumstances.
Any calls to revise the provisions of the signed treaties, the obligations to fulfill them, will violate the principle of equality of parties and the presumption of their integrity with respect to each other, and will inevitably lead to poverty due to economic chaos.
We believe that common sense and a statesmanship will be stronger than the instantaneous aspirations and desires for easy money. Otherwise, we will only have to rely on international law, which is always on the watch of business and ordinary people, and that the principle of justice will be restored by international jurisdictions.