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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Verkhovna Rada extends moratorium on farmland sales to January 1, 2008

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine`s parliament, has passed a bill extending the ban on the sale of farmland until January 1, 2008. A total of 354 MPs out of 436 registered for the vote supported the bill amending the Land Code of Ukraine.

Until January 1, 2008, the bill bans land property rights from being included in the statutory funds of economic entities. The bill also bans the purchase and sale of state-owned farmland and farmland under communal ownership, except when it must be purchased for public needs. The bill also bans until January 1, 2008, the purchase and sale or any possible alienation of farmland owned by Ukrainian citizens or legal entities other than through the transfer of farmland as inheritance or the legal exchange of one farmland plot for another. As earlier reported, in June, the participants in the anti-crisis coalition agreed to prolong the moratorium for one year, until January 1, 2008 [the current moratorium is valid until January 1, 2007], and lift it after a set of measures on the functioning of the land market are developed and introduced.

There are 33 million hectares of arable land in Ukraine. Some experts estimate the value of Ukraine`s arable land as more than UAH 300 billion. The bill has to be signed by the president [Viktor Yuschenko] to take effect. The Universal of National Unity, an agreement signed by the president and other leading politicians, stipulates that the moratorium on farmland sales will be extended until January 1, 2008.