China leases 9% of Ukraine’s arable farmland for 50 years

China is to lease 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of Ukrainian farmland. China’s official Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has signed an agreement with Ukrainian agricultural firm KSG Agro, which would see Ukraine provide 100,000 hectares to China. That would eventually rise to 3 million hectares.

This would be 11,583 square miles of Ukrainian land over the span of 50 years—which means the eastern European country will give up about 5% of its total land, or 9% of its arable farmland to feed China’s burgeoning population.

The 50-year plan was mainly aimed at growing crops and raising pigs.

In 2009, China had a total of just over 2 million hectares of farming land abroad.

The 3 million hectares is about equal the land area of Massachusetts. It is also about the size of Belgium.

As part of the deal, China’s Export-Import bank has given Ukraine a $3 billion loan for agricultural development. In exchange for its produce, Ukraine will receive seeds, equipment, a fertilizer plant (Ukraine imports about $1 billion worth of fertilizer every year), and a plant to produce a crop protection agent. XPCC also says it will help build a highway in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as bridge across the Strait of Kerch, a transport and industrial center for the country.

There have been smaller deals between Egypt and countries in Africa.

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