The Saudi buyers of Mriya Agro plan to invest $150 million over the next two years to make the western Ukraine farming giant “world class,” according to Mark Laird, the British general manager of Salic’s current Ukraine unit, Continental Farmers Group. Laird, whose farming territory now quadruples to 210,000 hectares, says Salic will invest in new equipment, infrastructure, agricultural technology and consolidation of farm land leases “to build the combined Mriya and CFG operations into a world class farming operation.” In a press statement, Khalid Alabudi, head of SALIC UK, said: "Our subsidiary CFG has been successfully operating in Ukraine since 2006, processing 45,000 hectares in the Lviv and Ternopil regions... [The Mriya] investment will ensure long-term profitability of this remarkable asset."
The investment by Salic is “the largest purchase in the agricultural sector in the history of independent Ukraine,” President Poroshenko said on Ukraine TV Wednesday. The price has not been made public, but the president said it was ‘hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Financial Times put the price at $242 million. In a nation where farmland sales are banned and fear is high of foreigners grabbing the fabled ‘black earth,’ Poroshenko told Ukrainians of the farm purchase by a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia: “This contract does not mean buying Ukrainian land. It means buying Ukrainian assets, raising the level of investment in the Ukrainian agrarian complex, and raising the level of technologies that are now coming to Ukraine.