With the merger, Alpcot Agro now controls well over 250,000 hectares of farmland in Russia and the Ukraine.
Bloomberg's Alan Katz reports on Morgan Stanley's farming venture on the steppes of Ukraine which it abandoned in July 2009. The failed gamble demonstrates how Wall Street firms, in the last gasp of a debt-fueled bull market, strayed further from their traditional businesses to embrace diverse projects with unfamiliar risks.
Ukraine has ditched proposals to allow foreigners to buy up its farmland in a privatisation process, to prevent wealthy multinationals snapping up its farmland on the cheap.
Many Ukrainians now prefer to lease their land rather than work it themselves.
Nombre d'Ukrainiens préfèrent louer leurs droits fonciers plutôt que d'exploiter leur parcelle.
The collapse in Ukraine's land prices presents a "great opportunity" for buyers, Landkom's chief executive said, as he revealed an acquisition plan aimed at part into getting the group into biofuels refining
Ukraine has abundant land resource, only ten per cent of which is currently controlled by corporations.
There is something amazingly patronising in the way Payne claims that Emergent has ‘adopted’ a Mozambican village of 3,000 people and hired its citizens to clear 2,000 acres of land to farm it with her firm.
"The reasons [Ukrainians] choose to lease [Landkom] their land has nothing to do with money - it is an emotional desire to see their region go forward, that's all," says Paul Spinks.
"We can't eat semiconductors or auto parts." When Richard Shin of Daewoo Logistics told me this during an interview last week, it hit me hard. Shin is the manager of the Korean firm's $6 billion project to carve a 1.3 million hectare farm out of Madagascar, a formal French colony.
As with timberland, while direct ownership and management (i.e., being a farmer), is a possibility, such a route is similarly fraught with difficulties. One of the most significant of these is the issue of diversification in the farmland itself - especially with a single investment. A well-diversified holding of farmland (row crop, permanent crop, pasture and even timber) will, therefore, not only require a significant investment, but may also involve land holdings in a number of different locations.
“Look at the colour, what a beautiful crop,” says Richard Spinks, pointing to wheat and rapeseed fields that his company sowed this season in western Ukraine. “If all of Ukraine’s farms could produce the yields we are getting, this country could play a big role in feeding the world and establish itself as a geopolitical power,” says the British chief executive of London-listed Landkom.