China Buys 7.4M Acres of Ukraine

Will farm an area roughly the size of Massachusetts

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 23, 2013 7:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – As demand for food grows in China—and farmland shrinks—the country has signed a deal with Ukraine that will eventually see it plowing into 3 million hectares (that's about 7.4 million acres) of the Ukrainian farmland. China will initially receive 100,000 hectares—an area about the size of Hong Kong—and increasingly acquire more over the next 50 years, the South China Morning Post reports. Quartz notes that 3 million hectares is 5% of Ukraine's total land, and 9% of its arable farmland. The total area China will eventually be farming is roughly the size of Massachusetts or Belgium.

The land will be used mainly for growing crops and raising pigs, the Post reports, then the produce will be sold to two Chinese state-owned grain companies at favorable prices. The price tag on the deal is unknown, though a local newspaper reported last month that it would be more than $2.6 billion—a "unprecedented foreign investment" for Ukraine's agricultural industry. China already has about two million hectares of overseas farmland, according to an agricultural researcher in Beijing, but Ukraine will eventually be home to its largest farm project abroad. (Click for the unusual story of a much, much smaller land purchase.)

Windmill in Pirogovo, Kiev, Ukraine   (Shutterstock)
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