KYIV - October 20, 2021. In late September, the First International Conference on Agricultural Law was held to identify the current challenges of the recently opened land market in Ukraine, namely by interviewing lawyers practicing in this sphere.
The results of the study, initiated by the UBA GR Committee, the UBA Committee on Agricultural Law, and with the organizational support of the UBA General Partner Hillmont Partners are available by the link).
The experts assessed the answers of the respondents, the speeches at the conference and shared their conclusions.
Serhii Bilenko, Member of the Board of the Land Union of Ukraine, NGO:
“The results of the survey are very indicative and show, first, that the market of agricultural land is operational, and the regulation of this market is sufficient for the first stage of its operation. The survey also shows that market players understand the purpose of such regulation. The adoption of legislation that established the game’s rules in the agricultural land market took place in a rather complex political atmosphere. Therefore, this legislation has largely become a political compromise, although it has caused some problems in law enforcement. But these problems will be gradually solved taking into account the practice of its application. Such practice already exists. Transactions on the purchase and sale of land plots that were previously under the moratorium are taking place, their number is gradually increasing. Therefore, shortly we should expect a corresponding adjustment of the legislation. As expected, the main problem in the market functioning was a complex system of control over the concentration of land “in one hand”. Verification of this concentration by notaries manually increased the prices for notarial services and stretched the process of purchase and sale for a long time, which created significant obstacles for the parties to sales contracts. Obviously, with the improvement of legal regulation, the state should gradually move to automate these processes.”
Maksym Maksymenko, Chair of the UBA Committee on Agricultural Law, Partner, Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure Practice at AVELLUM:
“I was happy to hear from the speakers that most of their expectations from the launch of the land market have come true. We also could observe extraordinary statistics for the certification of agreements on the alienation of agricultural land. The issue of easing restrictions on the alienation of certain categories of agricultural land in favor of legal entities remains open. This, according to the respondents - participants of the conference and survey - does not allow to realize the investment potential of the market. Moreover, the speakers in their speeches also expressed concern about the excessive restraint of agribusiness, which hinders the functioning of the market in full force. Therefore, we hope for further market liberalization in this direction. Given that the land market was launched from scratch, it is impossible not to pay attention to its weaknesses at both regulatory and organizational levels, they need to be refined. However, experience shows that recognizing the problem is half the solution. In addition, most respondents noted a high level of confidence in the government's resolution of existing gaps, and government officials, in turn, said they were ready for dialogue to consider public proposals on the identified issues.”
Alyona Shulima, Associate Partner at Hillmont Partners: head of strategic communications practice, member of the UBA GR Committee:
“The changes that have taken place in the legal regulation of land relations over the past two years can rightly be called revolutionary. Despite lengthy political and expert discussions, changes have already entered into force this year regarding the opening of the agricultural land market, the legislative provision of land auctions, and the deregulation of certain aspects of land relations. The results of the survey showed a high assessment of the effectiveness of state policy in the field of land relations, as well as the average and higher regulatory and organizational levels of the implemented regulation of the land market and business confidence in such regulation. At the same time, the participants assessed the level of field communication in part of the first operations after the opening of the land market, as well as their own readiness and dialogue with the authorities on further improvement of regulations. In general, the survey results are quite optimistic. Both the state and business are currently just learning to live by the new rules, so a certain distrust is natural. Thus, such results give a reason for restrained optimism about the chosen vector of land policy development. The development of land relations, according to the survey, should be aimed at revealing the investment potential of the land market and establishing effective safeguards against monopolization and geopolitical risks in this area. I would like to add that some problems of law enforcement of new institutions also remain relevant, some of which can be solved using digital technologies.”
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