Ukraine is one of the last few countries in the world where people can’t buy or sell agricultural land. Almost 7 million people in Ukraine have agricultural land in private ownership. This represents 28 million hectares of arable land of the total 32 million hectares (rest is still state property).

Still, there is a ban on the sale of agricultural land, which a horrific violation of private property rights. This ban is de-facto indefinite and has led to impoverishment of rural population. Private owners are left with no choice but to lease agricultural land for comparatively low rent payments.

UEFF sees lifting of the band on the sale/purchase of agricultural land as one of its key priorities. To lift the ban we are taking multiple angle actions that also include decentralization of state land management, improvements of land property rights and deregulation in order to limit the opposition.

As a result of these actions, several pieces of legislation and legal actions have been enacted with some positive outcomes.

In 2016 Parliament has adopted two of draft laws that UEFF has worked on along with partner organizations (Ukrainian Agrarian Associations and Land Union of Ukraine).

Specifically draft law #2279 eliminated exemptions that allowed to lease agricultural land without a competitive auction. In 2015 alone 85,900 hectares of land were leased without an auction and only 27,860 hectares on an auction. After the law adoption in March 2016, non-competitive forms of land lease were all but eliminated.

Also draft law #3006 was adopted in September 2016, which significantly improved land property rights by settling the problem of escheat land (land that belonged to deceased owners with no next of kin). This land was de-facto

Interestingly, the whole budget of the draft law #3006 was only $3,000. Same time, government funded USAID project proposed an alternative draft law #3006-1 spending significant part of $300,000 budget on it. This also became basis for strong criticism of efficiency of government funded aid programs and started another UEFF project – “Monitoring the inefficiencies of foreign aid”.(тут вставити лінк та проект)

To challenge the ban itself we also helped draft law lifting the ban on the sale of agricultural land, which is currently registered in Parliament.

In February 2017 two UEFF founders – Maryan Zablotskyy and Sergiy Fursa – took part in a very public submission of complaint to Constitutional Court regarding the ban, along with close friend of UEFF – Ukrainian member of Parliament Oleksiy Mushak. While being blocked from physically entering the Constitutional Court by socialists, the complaint has anyway been registered.

There are other actions that are being undertaken to lift the ban which we would not like to make public not to obstruct relevant actions.

The constitutional submission regarding the compliance of the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of paragraphs 14, 15 of Section X "Transitional Provisions" of the Land Code of Ukraine