China needs food. Here is how it will get it.
It would be the biggest so called “land grab” agreement, where one country leases or sells land to another, in a trend that has been compared to the 19th century “scramble for Africa”, but which could now spread to the vast and fertile plains of eastern Europe.
Under the 50-year plan, China would eventually control three million hectares, an area equivalent to Belgium or Massachusetts, which represents nine per cent of Ukraine’s arable land. Initially 100,000 hectares would be leased.
The farmland in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region would be cultivated principally for growing crops and raising pigs. The produce will be sold at preferential prices to Chinese state-owned conglomerates, said the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp (XPCC), a quasi-military organisation also known as Bingtuan.
XPCC said on Tuesday that it had signed the £1.7 billion agreement in June with KSG Agro, Ukraine’s leading agricultural company. KSG Agro however denied reports that it had sold land to the Chinese, saying it had only reached agreement for the Chinese to modernise 3,000 hectares and “may in the future gradually expand to cover more areas”.
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