Kazakhstan president extends moratorium on leasing farmland to foreigners

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has decided to extend a moratorium on land privatization and land leasing to foreigners until the end of 2021, the presidential press service said.

The decision was made on August 18, five days after members of Kazakhstan’s Land Reform Commission voted for an extension of the moratorium on leasing Kazakh agricultural land to foreigners for five years.

Thousands protested across Kazakhstan in April and May against the government’s plans to privatize agricultural land.

As a result, the Kazakh government set up a commission to review the land-reform plans, and invited some opposition figures to join it, after opposition activists called for rallies to be held across the country to protest proposed changes to the Land Code that would allow farmland to be sold and would allow foreign investors to lease land for agricultural use for up to 25 years.

President Nazarbayev on May 5 ordered to postpone the implementation of the controversial legislation until 2017.

The Land Reform Commission on August 13 developed several proposals concerning the land reform in Kazakhstan.

The Commission suggested preserving the institute of agricultural land lease for citizens of Kazakhstan for the period of 49 years.

The Commission proposed to determine the maximum size of farmland that can be leased to the citizens of Kazakhstan.

It was suggested introducing a strict procedure for land use in cross-border regions.

The Commission proposed to determine pastures and hayfields surrounding populated areas to meet the needs of local population. These lands cannot be leased to persons or entities of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Commission recommended that local authorities should be allowed to buy agricultural land for public use and individual housing construction.

Sergey Kwan

TCA