KIEV, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The implementation of a farmland reform could increase Ukraine's gross domestic product (GDP) growth by up to 1.6 percent annually, local media reported Thursday, citing a senior World Bank (WB) official.
Satu Kahkonen, the bank's country director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, told reporters in Kiev that the opening-up of the farmland market may generate between 700 million U.S. dollars and 1.5 billion dollars for Ukraine's budget per year.
"It would allow Ukraine to unleash the huge agricultural potential for the benefit of the Ukrainian people, in particular for 4.5 million rural landowners," Kahkonen said.
In 2001, Ukraine adopted a land code, reviving a moratorium on farmland trade, which was first imposed in 1992. The farmland reform envisages lifting the moratorium.
Supporters of the reform say that the ban on land trade limits the rights of Ukraine's land plot owners to dispose of their property.
Meanwhile, critics say that small landowners may lose their plots once the ban is lifted as big agricultural firms may manage to take away their farmland.
The Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry estimated the market value of Ukraine's farmland at 42 million hectares, of which 32 million hectares are arable, at nearly 100 billion dollars.