Politika’s fake news about how “the Americans bought a third of Ukraine’s arable land”

Freepik/@ chormail

Original article (in Serbian) was published on 25/08/2022

According to the statements made by Politika on July 28, the Americans “bought a third of the arable land of Ukraine” (or, hereinafter, the “former Ukraine”), so during the previous year – as stated – three consortia with American capital became “owners 28 percent of arable land”. In the text, Politika’s journalist primarily relies on information from the obscure “Australian National Review” web portal, and the allegations from this news have been repeatedly denied to Tragac.

Selling  land to foreigners is prohibited

The text lists “Cargill”, “DuPont,” and “Monsanto” as buyers, who, in response to our editorial office’s inquiry, state that they do not own arable land in Ukraine, nor would it be possible even if they wanted to, given the ban on selling land to foreigners.

Sergiy Sydorenko, a journalist of the Kyiv web portal “European Justice”, considers this news “ridiculous”, since foreigners are prohibited by law from buying arable land in Ukraine. However, is it possible that American corporations bought the land through intermediaries from Ukraine? Sydorenko gives a negative response since the limit of 100 hectares also applies to Ukrainian citizens, which will apply until 2024.

We received a similar answer from Frederic Mousseau from the Institute in Auckland, who has been dealing with the topic of the arable land market in Ukraine for years. “This news seems extremely unrealistic. The mentioned companies generally do not buy large arable land, but trade goods”, he says and adds that “DuPont”, “Cargill” and “Monsanto” have entrepreneurial interests in Ukraine, but “certainly not through direct land control”.

After looking at the “Australian National Review” text, Mousseau estimated that this web portal relied on his text from August 2021, with a handful of misinterpretations. Mousseau’s text states that the land, regardless of the sale ban, could be leased to foreign companies and that the total leased area (including tenants from Ukraine and abroad) is estimated at around 3.4 million hectares, which means slightly more than 8% of arable land.

Refutations made by “customers”

Monsanto, mentioned in Politika’s text as one of the buyers, is now part of the Bayer company. Aleksandra Valenta Pavlovic from Bayer told Tragac that this corporation “does not own land in Ukraine nor does it plan to buy it in the future”, and adds that it would be legally impossible: “Ukrainian law prevents foreign companies from buying and owning arable land in Ukraine”.

An almost identical response came from Dan Turner from Dupont, another alleged “owner” of Ukrainian land: “We confirm that this is false information, Dupont does not own land in Ukraine”.

What source did Politika’s journalist rely on?

The site “Australian National Review” is recognized as a site of extremely low credibility, prone to false and conspiratorial narratives. Among the news from this web portal, which showers you with calls for donations and banners about “hidden truths”, it is possible to find the news that “the UK government has admitted that children who have received the covid vaccine have a 4423% higher chance of dying”. There is, for example, the advice of the founder of the site to readers not to go to hospitals because Gates and Fauci are “financially encouraging them to kill you and your loved ones”.