May 24, 2021
Good Morning! Thank you for inviting me to speak at this important event as Ukraine prepares to open its agricultural land market.
The adoption of the law to end the prohibition of the sale of agricultural land last year was a momentous step towards embracing market principles by allowing land owners more flexibility in the use of the property they own.
The adoption of critical laws by the Ukrainian Parliament over the past year is establishing a solid legal foundation for a more transparent, competitive, and fair system of land relations that will unlock Ukraine’s agricultural potential and lead to new opportunities and greater prosperity for all Ukrainians.
The Rada’s adoption in recent weeks of two critical laws for the implementation of land reform required the patient building of support to overcome opposition by those who would prefer to keep Ukraine tied to the past. For that I congratulate Rada leadership.
To ensure the success of land reform, including equitable implementation, more needs to be done. The draft law creating partial loan guarantees for small farmers has yet to be passed.
This law will ensure that every Ukrainian has the opportunity to participate in the business of farming.
Additional bylaws must be enacted to make sure anti-corruption safeguards are in place.
As we quickly approach the date set for opening of the agricultural land market, continued leadership is essential.
We commend the President’s commitment to this important reform, and look forward to seeing it achieved after many years of deadlock.
Unfortunately, due to conflicting messages, many Ukrainians remain skeptical that land reform will provide benefits.
So fora like today’s are important, to provide accurate information about the new land market, and build public confidence.
It is vital that landowners, farmers, and communities know their rights and how to protect them.
We encourage the government and media to initiate a public awareness campaign to provide clear, accurate information.
Together with our European Union and World Bank partners, the United States stands ready to support the Government of Ukraine in implementing land reform that will benefit the interests of all Ukrainians.
Today’s Forum is a great and timely opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the roadmap for land reform implementation and develop a joint strategy for overcoming gaps.
I hope you will be able to identify opportunities and priorities, and plot a way forward to allow Ukraine to tap into the vast potential of its agriculture sector for the benefit of all Ukrainians.
Thank you for your participation in this forum and your willingness to share your experiences, ideas, and views.