17:19 19.05.2022

Land cultivation by owner instead of leasing can lead Ukraine out of current dead-end model of land relations - expert

4 min read

KYIV. May 19 (Interfax-Ukraine) - The concentration of land in one hand by leasing land plots from their owners over the years of independence has led to the degradation of the Ukrainian agricultural industry, this problem can be solved by legally operating associations of landowners, consolidating in matters of growing and selling crops, head of the Ukrainian Association of Land Owners Roman Holovin said.

At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Thursday, he noted that the main problem of land lease relations in Ukraine is the concentration of land in one hand. Thus, 10% of the country's agricultural land is concentrated in the ten largest Ukrainian tenants.

In addition, the user of the land, who is not its owner, is not interested in investing in the land asset, as well as in the further processing of agricultural products and the development of animal husbandry, the expert explains.

Holovin specified that the launch of the land market in 2021 did not change the situation for the better for the land owner, but continued the concentration of land in the hands of tenants. With its appearance, the rent for agricultural plots did not increase, the owner of the land did not receive the right to dispose of the land without the permission of the tenant, and the lease agreement is almost impossible to terminate. According to the expert, due to lack of prospects and intimidation by tenants, land owners are increasingly deciding to sell land for next to nothing.

"Ukraine found itself in a situation of a dead end in the implementation of land relations, which led to the decline of the agricultural sector, gave rise to socio-economic and socio-political contradictions and conflicts. Such land relations do not exist in any civilized country," the head of the union emphasized during the press conference.

Holovin noted that associations of land owners are capable of resolving this issue, which consolidate joint efforts to sell their crops at the highest possible price, resolve the issues of production services and hiring subcontractors, accounting and tax administration. Such public independent management of land through participation in the community of land owners created by Holovin makes it possible to receive profit from the use of land by its owner 2-2.5 times more than non-public (shadow) agriculture, or management through the registration of the land owner as a private entrepreneur.

The community of land owners is a legal entity created by uniting land owners to consolidate the use of land plots in independent agricultural activities, at the same time socially significant for its participants, the society and the state as a whole. The organization is a single taxpayer of the fourth group and a value added tax payer, which implies a special taxation regime for the community and the owner of the land entering it.

"The community does not pay income tax, which means that the owner of the land does not pay it either. The land owner participating in the community does not pay the minimum tax liability (UAH 1,500-2,000 per ha of land), land tax (UAH 300-600 per ha), personal income tax (UAH 2,000-8,000 per ha of land) in the form of a tax liability and does not pay social security tax (22% of income received)," the expert specified.

At the same time, he clarified that community members have the opportunity to sell their crops at market value with VAT refunds, while individual farmers who grow agricultural products without state registration are forced to sell them 40-50% cheaper due to the lack of documents confirming their ownership of the crop.

Also, the community has the right to VAT refunds on the purchase of goods and services, pays a single tax in the amount of 0.95% of the normative monetary value of the cultivated land. In addition, it maintains personal accounting records for each participant, which means accounting for personal expenses and personal profits.

According to Holovin, the above tax and administrative preferences allow a land owner who independently cultivates land through participation in the community to have a significant advantage over illegal land owners and landlords. This way of managing allows him to receive an average of UAH 12,000-20,000 of profit per hectare of land.

According to his calculations, with a crop value of UAH 28,000/ha, the land owner can receive UAH 8,000-12,000 per hectare by optimizing taxation and accounting, and with a crop value of UAH 42,000/ha, he will earn UAH 14,000-22,000/ha.

"In the system of self-management, the income of millions of land owners is significantly increased, control of the agricultural sector and its centralized support are ensured, and most importantly, the country's food security is guaranteed," he summed up.