Family farms must be a priority for Ukraine

15:20 29.10.2016

Batkivshchyna faction leader Yulia Tymoshenko says a program is needed to support family farms in Ukraine, which will provide the country with food and other products and allow rural families to earn a decent living.

“For all agrarian countries family farms are central to agrarian business and this is the path for our country. Today 68% of land in Europe is family farms, 85% in Asia, and 62% in Africa. You can name thousands of reasons to refute the statement that family farms are a thing of the past,” Yulia Tymoshenko said during the All-Ukrainian Village Viche.

She noted that today there are more than 570,000 family farms in the world, and they produce the majority of agricultural products.

“That is how the most succesful countries work, and they have family farms making 78% of all products in their country,” the politician said.

Having analyzed Ukraine’s position in terms of number of farms in the last 25 years, she said that in 2015 there were 27,000 farms, while in 2016 that number has dropped to 20,500.

“This is 6,000 fewer family farms. Is this by accident? No! Because this is the goal of the people in power today. They believe that agricultural land is not yours and they don’t plan on leaving it to you,” Yulia Tymoshenko said.

The Bativshchyna leader explained that today in Ukraine approximately 11 families “control thousands of hectares of land and are raiding more.” “One of those families, I’m scared to say, is our president’s,” she said.

Yulia Tymoshenko was also indignant that in 25 years no government was able to introduce a strategy for the development of rural areas and family farming.

“I don’t believe that in 25 years the country didn’t realize that family farming is our future and present. I don’t believe that they couldn’t pass a law on family farming. They didn’t because they don’t want to. Because our land is priceless,” she said.

In comparing the number of family farms per 1,000 population, she noted that in Greece there are 65.29 while in Ukraine only 1.3.

“We have 44,000 family farms, while Poland has 2.5 million,” she said.

Yulia Tymoshenko also said a strategy and road map is needed to increase the number of family farms.

“We need to increase the number of family farms in Ukraine to 1.584 million. This is our goal. We will do this because the world hasn’t invented anything better. We have gathered here to decide what we want and what decisions are needed. We need to understand how to influence the government,” she said.