The moratorium on the sale of farmland, which has been in place for 18 years, was a "scheme" used to cover up land deals, Oleksiy Mushak, an adviser to the Prime Minister of Ukraine on economic issues, has said at a roundtable organized by Gorshenin Institute.
"In fact, the land market has probably been open for about 20 years now because the land was bought and sold but this was done using 'schemes'," he said, answering the question when Ukraine would open its land market. "There is nothing good about this because it led to the impoverishment of villagers and sometimes to the mass departure of people from the village. "
According to Mushak, as a result of the moratorium, "Ukrainian land, which is one of the best in the world, costs humiliatingly cheap."
He suggested that the lawful, free land market should rectify this situation.
"The problem is that now Ukrainians have no right to buy land in Ukraine. Ukrainians are deprived of the right to buy farmland in Ukraine although they can do it abroad, for example, in the neighbouring Czech Republic..."
Mushak also recalled Article 14 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which states that land is the main national treasure. According to him, only a small proportion of Ukrainian citizens now benefits from it.
"Agricultural holdings and farmers now benefit from the fact that land in Ukraine has been cheap for the past 10 years, and it was cheap to buy it through various 'schemes'. And that gave them a competitive advantage. But this competitive advantage boils down to the fact that we export grain and cereals instead of farming long-time crops," Mushak said.