China to lease 3 million hectares of farmland in Ukraine

24 September 2013 10:01
China has reportedly agreed with Ukraine to lease 3 million hectares of Ukrainian farmland for the next 50 years, making Ukraine China's largest overseas farming center, reports Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. As reported, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) signed a memorandum with Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea on infrastructure investments in the peninsula, including an expressway, a government housing project, and a bridge across the Strait of Kerch. XPCC had signed an agreement with Ukrainian government-controlled agricultural firm KSG Agro to lease initially 100,000 hectares in Ukraine's eastern Dnepropetrovsk region. That would eventually rise to 3 million hectares, in a deal said to be worth $2.6 billion per year. The media reports said the farmland would mainly be used for growing crops and raising pigs. XPCC is a quasi-military organization established in the 1950s in China's northwestern Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Province, which borders Russia and three other former Soviet republics -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan -- to reclaim farmland and consolidate defenses against the Soviet Union. This would make it China's biggest reported lease or purchase of farmland overseas.