Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.

Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance

Most Welcome to FarmLandS!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Might there be one less Swedish investor in post-Soviet agriculture?

Agrokultura, formally known as Alpcot Agro, has called an extraordinary shareholder meeting for November 11 2013 here in Stockholm. Founded in 2006, Agrokultura owns or leases a total of 281 000 ha in Ukraine and Russia. While the initial indication was that the meeting would be about selecting a new board and discussing their salaries, Agrokultura founder Björn Lindström stated in a recent  interview that he gave for the Swedish magazine Affärs Världen that he intends to call for a liquidation of the company because, as he says, he does not see near-term prospects for profitability. 

In August of this year, Agrokultura reported (see also the half year report) a loss of 76,9 million kr (about 12.4 million USD) for the first half of 2013, and much of its land remains unharvested. In 2012 for example they harvested on 126 000 ha. Legal disputes involved with the purchase of LandKom in 2012, which was supposed to allow Agrokultura to expand their operations in Ukraine, instead hampered consolidation and integration of their Ukrainian holdings (see Agrokultura's most recent annual report). 

The legal disputes were resolved towards the end of 2012, and Agrokultura has since moved this year to consolidate their Ukrainian operations around Lviv in western Ukraine, divesting around 24 800 ha in central and southern Ukraine (see this report). It is a trend in Ukraine that agroholdings  (or super large farms) are consolidating holdings and even decreasing them to focus on acquiring better machinery, infrastructure and improving crop production. In this regard Agrokultura has invested in increasing its elevator capacity and taken other steps to improve profitability.  

It should be an interesting meeting in November. (Again for the purposes of disclosure, I should mentioned that I own a tiny amount of shares in Agrokultura).