A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Farmland in Ukraine: Quiet, sales are going on!

March 16, 2015

Reference has frequently been made to land grabbing on the African Continent by Chinese and Western multinational corporations, but the trend is increasingly concerning some western nations. Canada recently questioned some farmland acquisitions by investment funds, and Australia just strengthened its control of investments in agricultural real estate to address the fears raised by Chinese acquisitions on its territory.

The trend has also spread in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine whose agricultural potential seems idyllic to investors: The Utilized Agricultural Area covers 70 percent of its territory––close to 42 million hectares (103.75 million acres)––and ranks sixth in world grain output, and third in terms of world corn exports.

The growing land concentration in the hands of agro-holdings, which already control over 20 percent of the best Ukrainian farmland, and more globally the risks linked to privatizing this green field at the heart of Europe, are old issues generated buy the USSR implosion and the country’s economic liberalization. Yet, this trend of farmland purchases is all the more worrisome, since it is increasing in times of security tensions and major political and socio-economic instability.

This agricultural El Dorado is indeed a growing subject of interest for western multinational corporations. The Oakland Institute, an American think tank, indicates that they might profit from Ukraine’s rundown conditions to take over whole segments of the country’s agricultural operations through increased investment. As a result, firms such as Monsanto, Cargill or DuPont might now control 1.6 million hectares (4 million acres) of Ukraine’s farmland.

Consistent with this rationale, the think tank indicates that the World Bank and the IMF have forwarded a roadmap to the new Ukrainian government to reform the country’s agriculture by easing access to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). On a more concrete level, Kiev must facilitate farmland acquisitions, reduce regulations and controls for agribusiness plants, and cut corporate taxes and customs tariffs.

The very notion of land grabbing must be handled with care, since the meaning of land purchase might vary according to investors’ strategies, from unprincipled speculators to nations concerned about their food supply. While land purchases can be a driver to weaken the food security of defenseless populations, they can also represent useful agricultural investments. However, if these investments in Ukraine lead to the uncontrolled liberalization of the country’s agricultural activities, there is no evidence that the sector, and therefore the country’s economy, can survive.

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Paris, 19 June 2019