On the back of entrepreneurs’ unscrupulous practices, the Republic’s farming companies are deprived of farmland. In her interview with RBK Ufa, Natalia Shagaida, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Head of the Agrarian Policy Department of the Gaidar Institute has noted that there are numerous factors which have led to the current situation.

In Bashkiria, farmers are under pressure of “land speculators” who buy farmland. Entrepreneurs and companies use the two schemes: they either participate in auctions to get the title to leasehold or ownership of land or buy land shares directly fr om rural residents.

“Stability existed in the Soviet period when all collective farms had their own boundaries and nobody was allowed to change them. Actually, the land reform was aimed at redistributing resources in favor of more efficient users. It is not stability that should be sought, but development. It is not really necessary to forbid people who worked for many years in agriculture and received a land share to sell their land with profit. But there is a problem with preservation of farmland. Let us highlight the main factors. First, all mangers of agricultural enterprises have had land relations officially formalized. Though there were lots of obstacles – a lengthy and rather costly procedure, as well as a lack of expertise and legal aid -- it had to be done. There were lots of land which nobody actually needed. As the agriculture was gaining momentum, demand for land started to pick up and third-parties interested in land emerged,” Natalia Shagaida said.

The expert has noted that land relations are presently regulated to a greater extent at the federal level and regions’ authorities are rather limited. But even if entities can make a difference, local authorities do not necessarily solve these issues. For example, limitations may be imposed on land concentration per person. But sometimes regions permit a single entity to concentrate 50% of the region’s farmland. The federal authorities have attempted to lim it spontaneous buying of land: a land share can be bought either by an entity itself which utilizes the land in shared ownership or an interest-holder. Buyers often act through the latter, Natalia Shagaida notes.