With its vast fields and rich dark soil, Ukraine once produced a quarter of the Soviet Union’s harvest. It may soon be sending its crops to a different market. That comes after news that a Chinese firm has agreed to a 50-year lease with Ukraine’s government for a huge swathe of local farmland.
According to the Kyiv Post, the initial lease will cover 100,000 hectares but could eventually see the Chinese farming as much as 3 million hectares of the Ukrainian countryside, pumping $2.6 billion into its local economy. The company behind the move is XPCC, which we profiled in issue 192. The quasi-military behemoth is undertaking the move as part of China’s food security programme – as WiC has earlier reported, the Chinese government is concerned that supply of its own arable land may not be enough to guarantee self-sufficiency in essential crops. One solution is to buy farmland abroad. If it leases the full commitment from Ukraine, the estimate is that China’s total stock of overseas farmland will reach 5 million hectares.
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