Expectations of a Dutch farmer on the opening of the Ukrainian land market

The Dutch agricultural company “Kyshchentsi” is a good example of a successful foreign investment into the Ukrainian agricultural sector. This is why its owner and director Kees Huizinga was invited to express opinion of foreign investors at the All-Ukrainian Forum Ukraine 30. Land on May 24, 2021.

Kees Huizinga
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Kees Huizinga believes that transparent land market and affordable financing will add stability to the work of foreign investors in Ukraine.  "I have been working in Ukraine for almost 20 years. Our company cultivates 15,000 hectares of land and 325 hectares of vegetables under irrigation and have almost 2,000 dairy cows. We employ more than 500 people. The land market should provide us stability, which we do not have now. Now there are many non-transparent schemes [to get land in property] in Ukraine that hinder our work and development. A transparent land market and affordable financing will add stability,” said Kees Huizinga.

Within short term, foreign farms as “Kyschentsi” will not have access to the land market. When the agricultural land market is open for the Ukrainian citizens starting from July 1, 2021, legal entities will continue leasing land, as they do now. But what happens, if the owner of the land plot currently in lease decides to sell it?  The lessees will enjoy the preemptive right for purchase. Because in this case the lessee is a foreign company and cannot use their preemptive right, they will be able to transfer their right for purchase to a trustee, a Ukrainian citizen.

Huizinga3
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"We will use this option, but I hope that in the future, we will be able to purchase agricultural land directly. We have already invested more than $15 million in our dairy farm and another $10 million is needed to complete this project. If there is no stable land bank, how can we feed our cows? Stability is particularly important for us,” said Kees Huizinga.

According to Kees, it is a big mistake that Ukraine exports cheap raw materials, including wheat, corn, and labor.

Currently, “Kyschentsi” grows vegetables on the 325 ha, providing 110 jobs to the community all year round and 250 in high season. "We intend to develop irrigation. So, from 325 hectares of vegetables under irrigation last year we paid 16 million hryvnias of the tax to the state, it is much more than we pay from one hectare of corn grown. Last year, the total revenue from a hectare of corn amounted 50 thousand hryvnias. Growing vegetables is profitable for farmers, but also beneficial for the state”.

Restoring irrigation is hampered not only by the land market issues. Many hydraulic structures are in disrepair and do not have real owners. Last year “Kyschentsi” repaired the hydraulic construction, due to this, the company and the neighborhood, which is a tourist attraction, has a better controlled flow of water. “But we do not own this structure, and  there is no guarantee that we will be able to continue working with it, ” explains Kees.

Kees expects that the bill №5202 "On the organization of water users and the promotion of hydraulic land reclamation" will help to develop irrigation in Ukraine. Adoption of the law will contribute to the development of the country, increase jobs, tax revenues, income to farmers and the state.

Source: All-Ukraine Forum Ukraine 30 Land  03:18:00