Ukrainian govt desides state-owned farm land to be leased for up to 7 years via auctions

Ukrainian govt desides state-owned farm land to be leased for up to 7 years via auctionsIt will only be possible to lease state-owned farming land at auction for up to seven years, and the starting auction price cannot be lower than 8% of the appraisal norm, according to a Cabinet of Ministers resolution adopted on Wednesday.

Ukraine's State Service of Geodesy, Cartography, and Cadastre said it would also auction previously leased land plots, thereby liquidating the scheme under which they were divvied up into two-hectare plots and doled out freely as so-called personal farming plots, First Deputy Agricultural Policy and Food Minister Maksym Martyniuk has said.

Martyniuk said today's auction rates for state-owned land ranges between 13-15%, and the average rate for renting state-owned and privately owned land is from 5-8%.

Martyniuk said the resolution would introduce one more condition – the area of land given freely will be limited to 25% of the land plots leased at auction, and priority will be given to participants in the Anti-Terrorism Operation by rural local councils' consent.

According to Martyniuk, the State Service of Geodesy, Cartography, and Cadastre will bring previously signed agreements into compliance with the new rules.

He said the measures should increase income for local budgets by UAH 1 billion by the end of 2018.

Martyniuk said before the adoption of the resolution there did not exist any coherent procedure, noting that this led to unlawful activities. He said 62 heads of regional and district administrations were sacked in 2015-2016, while 53 officials were arrested, including 21 for bribery.

According to the first deputy minister, the majority of agreements were concluded for a maximum 49-year term with minimal 3% rates, and in 2016 the number of free two-hectare land plot transfers for personal farmer use increased.

Martyniuk said prior to 2013 regional district offices concluded 40,000 rental agreements with rates less than 3% for a total of 300,000 hectares.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman emphasized that renting land for agricultural purposes must take place on a competitive basis.
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