Ukraine extends ban on farmland sale until 2017

December 8, 2015 7:48 am 

KIEV, Dec. 8 — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill into law to extend a ban on the sale of the country's farmland until Jan. 1, 2017, the presidential press service said Monday.

"Extending the moratorium will remove the tension that has arisen in society because of political speculations on this issue and provide time for the development of a clear legal framework to set up a transparent agricultural land market," said a statement on the presidential website.

Poroshenko has set March 1, 2016 as a deadline for the government to prepare a new law to establish a farmland market in the country, the statement said.

Currently, agricultural land cannot be traded in Ukraine, since the country imposed a ban on farmland trade in 1992, which is due to expire on Jan. 1 next year.

In September, the government proposed to partially open the country's farmland market by selling state-owned agricultural land by auction before completely lifting the moratorium, allowing land owners to trade their agricultural plots.

However, such a move has triggered speculations that current legislation would fail to protect small land owners from losing their plots once the moratorium is lifted as big agricultural firms may use shadow schemes to appropriate their farmland.

After land privatization in 1996, some 7,000 Ukrainian land owners have been working with farmers under lease agreements.

The country's Agriculture Ministry has estimated that the market value of Ukraine's 42 million hectares farmland would be about USD 100 billion. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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