24 September 2013, 17:45

"Peking canard": Ukraine denies rumors about China renting its land

"Peking canard": Ukraine denies rumors about China renting its land

The Ukraine KGS Agro Company has denied rumors appeared in Chinese mass media that it signed an agreement on renting three billion hectares of Ukrainian land to a Xinjiang company.

China has caused a stir among farmers in Ukraine. A message stating that a state corporation from East Asia is going to buy three million hectares of the Ukrainian land has put businessmen and analysts on the alert. The thing is that this area corresponds to the size of one of the biggest regions of Ukraine – the Dnepropetrovsk region. The Kyiv Company KGS Agro was allegedly named the seller of the land, and the buyer is the Xinjiang Production and Construction Company.

Kiev economists have immediately called the events a «Peking canard». «There is no smoke without a fire», residents argue. Chinese media have also reacted to the information placed on the Internet. There appeared loud headlines: Ukraine is the major food producer for China in the future. This joke is an attempt to undermine the reputation of the Ukrainian delegation now staying in China, Doctor of Economic Sciences Leonid Kistersky believes:

“There appear such lame jokes. Their goals are completely different. They are aimed at, say, making fun of someone, or just at harming the reputation of the country, or at creating a kind of internal tension. Our authorities make a lot of mistakes anyway - in the economy, foreign policy and social policy”.

Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Prysyazhnyuk is staying on a visit in China now. He has already made a statement that Beijing might become an outlet for Kiev, since Ukraine produced almost three times more agricultural products than it consumed, and thus might export goods to China. However, even a lease of lands by Chinese farmers was not discussed.

Neither the Ukrainian authorities, nor businessmen can lease lands to foreigners, head of the Ukrainian KSG Agro agricultural holding Sergei Kasyanov emphasizes. At the same time, joint activity may be at issue, reminds the entrepreneur:

“We were not going neither to sell, nor to rent out or sublet our lands to the Chinese. It was all about placing drip irrigation systems in an area of three thousand hectares next year”.

This kind of translation problems could not happen by accident, experts believe. In an exclusive interview with the Voice of the Capital, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Ukrainian-Chinese cooperation Igor Litvin has explained, what the Ukrainians are actually being prepared for:

"Chinese agricultural holdings are actively buying lands worldwide. So, China’s Beidahuang owns lands in Argentina, and Chongqing Grain – in Brazil. China is a country, which will be one of the first to face a food crisis. After all, one fifth of the earth’s population lives there. And that's why the PRC must by all means resolve its agrarian issues in the near future. Ukraine is certainly a tidbit. And many do not cast doubt on the fact that this canard may become a blockbuster in the near future".

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