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55 Ukrainian MPs seeking farmland sale moratorium cancel

55 Ukrainian MPs seeking farmland sale moratorium cancelAn appeal to the Constitutional Court seeking to lift a farmland sale moratorium signed by 55 lawmakers has been sent.

"The Constitutional Court could lift the moratorium. We would receive the freest market among all possible options. This could happen in six months, according to the Constitutional Court regulations," the initiator of the appeal MP Oleksiy Mushak (Petro Poroshenko Bloc) said at a press conference in Kyiv last week.

He said that the appeal was sent to the court on February 16.

Mushak said that in the first month after the appeal was filed the Constitutional Court is to decide on launching the case. Next two months a reporter in the court will be selected and the case is heard for three months.

"In autumn we could have a land bank without any restrictions," Mushak said.

First Deputy Agricultural Policy and Food Minister Maskym Martyniuk said that if after the decision of the Constitutional Court the market starts operating, only one restriction would be left – ownership of farmland by foreigners.

"All the rest will be as liberal as possible, including the absence of restrictions on largest concentration of land," he said at the press conference.

Martyniuk said that if the market is launched in a smart way, with the gradual lifting of restrictions, this could result in development of rural areas.
"If the Rada fails to pass adequate bills and fails to unblock the moratorium issue, and the Constitution Court makes its decision, the liberal model would result in the quick transfer of smaller land owners' parcels to more effective agroholdings and the medium link would fall out of the process," he said.

He said that the Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry jointly with the World Bank is drawing up its own bill on farmland turnover.

"I think before the Constitutional Court makes its decision, the government would present its vision of options to lift the moratorium," he said.
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