Ukrainian smallholders request more information on land markets and new land laws

Free Legal Aid presents findings of first survey on legal awareness and information needs of landowners and land users in Ukraine 

53% of Ukrainians need more information on land markets and the new land laws, while 7% of the respondents are planning to buy some land and 9% are planning to sell and 3% to both buy and sell. These are some findings of the survey on legal awareness for which 1000 people (60% women and 40% men) from all over Ukraine randomly selected from the Free Legal Aid data base were interviewed in June and July 2021. The survey was implemented by the Coordination Center of Free Legal Aid with technical assistance from the EU funded and World Bank implemented “Supporting Land Governance Transparency in Ukraine” Project. The report “Readiness of landowners and land users for the implementation of land reform” is now available in Ukrainian and English.

The launch of the report took place on August 19, 2021 with presentations by Valeria Kolomiets, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Oleksandr Baranov, acting Director of the Coordination Center of Free Legal Aid, Marina Spiker, sociologist, graduate student of the Department of Sociology of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” and Klaus Deininger, lead economist, World Bank.

Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Valeria Kolomiets noted: “We have seen that most of the people who took part in this survey need legal information, including on land issues. Here, we talk about the rights of people in the field of land relations. The system of free legal aid, which can now conduct regular sociological research, is able to “cover” this legal education demand, applying a range of methods, from direct communication to the use of digital technologies”.

Alexander Baranov, acting Director of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid, observed: “These survey results indicate the need for information and legal education, and the importance of using those communication channels that are popular among certain categories of the population. For example, for older age groups – it’s national and local TV channels, press and radio, while younger people prefer internet. The intensive use of our WikiLegalAid confirms this need for information on issues in the field of land”

Klaus Deininger, lead economist of the World Bank said: “The survey shows very clearly: the lack of awareness and information even larger than it was originally expected and changing this situation is an urgent priority for government and policy makers. For example, the 19 % of respondents planning to buy or sell land know very little about the legal aspects of this procedure. Another example is that because only 29 percent know about the existence of State Support that farmers can use to expand their production, many others will lose out on this opportunity. This survey shows the importance of having such data. It is therefore important to regularly repeat the survey to understand if the level of legal awareness improves and no groups are missed”.


Price of land. The land market in Ukraine opened on July 1, 2021. Assuming that the average market price for land is around UAH 40,000 per hectare (according to MAPF collected data for July 2021), only 18% of respondents correctly estimated the current market price for land, while 15% mentioned a lower price and 18 per cent a higher. On average, potential sellers have

slightly higher price expectations than buyers, but this difference is not very large. However, 39 percent of all respondents (and 29 percent of the sub-group of potential buyers and 31 percent of potential sellers) could not even guess the price of one hectare of farmland. There are almost as many female as male landowners (81% and 84% respectively) and almost as many women as men who cultivate more than 10 hectares of land (4% and 6% respectively). However, women are also less knowledgeable about land prices, even although 18 % plan to buy land and 22 % to sell.

Knowledge of land legislation. The awareness of land legislation can be divided into two categories: land markets (land lease and purchase ) and land administration. 26 percent of respondents have a low level legal knowledge on land markets about land lease and 22 percent of land administration. There are no significant differences in the level of information demands between men and women. Those who are more elderly and living in villages are less sure about their ability to get reliable and adequate legal advice or to protect their rights, regardless of the amount of land they have. Those planning to buy land are better informed than potential sellers.

Need for legal information. Our results show that 53% of respondents are insufficiently informed about the latest changes in land legislation. The information demand is highest for those who are considering selling (68%) or buying (75%) land. Tenants (61%), and those who cultivate 3-10 hectares of land (62%) also have a higher demand for information. The results also show the high need for information and legal education for the more elderly people and those living in villages, a group that includes relatively more women than men.

Preferred communication channels. The preferred communication channel varies by age, income level and location, with Internet (41%) and national television (30%) being the most popular on average. While 60% of potential buyers prefer internet, this is only 37% for potential sellers of land who prefer national TV channels. People with the lowest level of legal knowledge use national TV channels (44%), the Internet (22%), and their social contacts (18%).

Trust in different sources of information. Sources of reliable information on land, trusted by respondents are notaries (62%), local state registrars (58%); local representatives of  StateGeocadastre (56%) and local governments (49%). However, it should be noted that a sizable group of respondents (30-40%) considered these same sources as unreliable. The satisfaction rate of those having used the free legal aid system is high: 91 percent reported being satisfied with the information or support received, and 90 percent would recommend a neighbor to contact the FLAS system when having legal problems with their land. Older and poorer people, as well as residents of the western region, are relatively less satisfied.

About the survey: A total of 1,000 adults were interviewed, who reported that they owned or used agricultural land. Telephone numbers were selected from the FLAS client base among those who first approached the system in 2020-2021 on land issues. As the general population was the FLAS clients, i.e. people who have received legal aid at least once in the last 1.5 years, it can be assumed that a representative survey of Ukrainian landowners and land users would have lower legal awareness and legal capability than in this study.

Download full survey: Implementation Land reform_20-08-2021_Engl

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