Crumbled and scattered parcels, inaccessible fields, frauds with farming subsidies, and problems with floods and droughts – this is the reality of Slovak agriculture. Extreme fragmentation makes it impossible to use land efficiently.
Examples of senseless Slovak economic policy that combines financial and bureaucratic blows always aimed at a different sector of the economy are thick on the ground. One of the most memorable ones is the imposed levy on singular shops and chains, also known as “food tax”.
Do not be fooled by the vast yellow fields of rapeseed in Slovakia. The agricultural sector is a zombie, living on subsidies instead of fresh brains. There are a few exceptions (like the successful tomato growers), but the overall numbers are harsh.
Germany’s greatest innovations are found not on the autobahn, but on the country’s fields and farms: self-driving high-tech tractors, milking robots, and feeding machines are already standard equipment for many farmers. Smart Farming is the future of agriculture.
Law and Justice seems to be going for neither the Anglo-Saxon, nor the Scandinavian solutions, nor any other type known from the Western market economies, but it instead, step by step, brings Poland back to the socialist system, enabling at the same time the emergence of a lobbying paradise.
Riding on the wave of historical fear, Slovak government quickly came up with a new protective law. In general, it forbids any agricultural landowner to sell land (2000 square meters and more) freely to just anyone. The willing seller has to actively search for an interested local farmer and offer him the land for “usual” price first.
The Lithuanian Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture are destroying competition in the dairy sector through the egregious regulation of raw milk purchases. Much noise has been made over this new law, which places onerous restrictions on the dairy market of dubious constitutionality.
Ukraine introduced value added tax (VAT), which is one of the essential sources of fiscal revenues in many countries, in 1992. The tax became important for Ukraine’s economy as it brings about one third of consolidated fiscal revenues and accounts for near 10% of GDP. However, with years the tax became known for poor administration and fraud. Some loopholes in the administration relate to numerous VAT privileges and exemptions.
The Ukrainian policy of export restrictions over recent years did not have the desired effect on the consumer prices and does not solve the declared policy target of food security.
On May 1, 2014, the ten years long ban for foreigners on buying land in Slovakia comes to an end. The EU’s philosophy is that the European citizen is at home in every member country of the Union and this entails the possibility to buy an agricultural land. Thus, Slovakia and other member states are obliged to loosen these restrictions.