KYIV — Agricultural land is Ukraine?s greatest asset. Agriculture comprises 40% of Ukraine?s exports and about 19% of its GDP. As a comparison, those statistics were 27% and 10% only five years ago.
Ukraine is richly endowed with 30% of the earth?s ?chernozem?, or black earth. This is about 60% of Ukraine?s 33 million hectares of cultivated land.
In 1990, most farm land was owned by collective farms, a legacy of the Soviet Union. In 1999, ownership was transferred to farm employees – with the restrictions that they could only be personally farmed or leased. Sales of agricultural lands were prohibited.
A moratorium against sales was enacted in January 2001 by the ?Law on agreements about the disposal of ?PAIs? land plots??, and later, in October 2001, by Ukrainian Land Code. These were to be temporary measures, for three years, until enactment of two basic laws: ?Law on Agricultural Land Markets? and the ?Law on State Land Cadaster.? Ever since, a moratorium on land sales in Ukraine has been in place. It was recently extended until January 2018.