A story how the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) “Agricultural and Rural Development Support” project has changed the AH future.
By Dmytro Synyak
Apparently, we can say that Mezhivska AH of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast was born under a lucky star. For the first time, it made a great coup when it got to the final list of hromadas, where a digital GIS-based hromada assets’ accounting system was created with the support of USAID's Agricultural and Rural Development project. The agency invested about UAH 1 million, while the Mezhivska AH did not pay anything. For the second time, the hromada was lucky enough, when, after accounting land resources, experts discovered dozens of uncultivated hectares, which are now actively used, and in future they should bring to the hromada additional about UAH 2.5 million per year. For the third time, the hromada caught its fortune, when employees of the company "Blominfo-Ukraine", who were registering land resources and entering information into special digital maps, visualised significant deposits of coal the Mezhivska AH was not even suspecting. This was told by Volodymyr Zrazhevskyi, head of the Mezhivska hromada, to decentralization.gov.ua during the USAID Local Systemic Development Forum “Partnership for Sustainable Hromada Development: Enhancing Local Economic Capacity”, held recently in Kharkiv.
Amalgamated hromadas are not particularly in a hurry to create transparent land management systems. Why were not you afraid of this?
- Probably because I have nothing to hide. I did not hesitate a second. After all, my hromada has received a lot of land outside settlements. However, we did not know anything about these land plots. At the same time, we understood that land is an important resource, which is, firstly, hromada’s revenue source, and secondly, means to attract investment.
Volodymyr Zrazhevskyi, head of the Mezhivska hromada, at the USAID Forum
Did you manage to find an investor after hromada received its digital GIS-based asset management system?
- Yes, we did. An investor addressed us with a proposal to build a dairy factory and a solar power plant on the territory of Mezhivska AH.
And how did this investor at all find you?
- We are very active in social networks. In addition, we maintain friendly relations with journalists from different editions, both local and national. The write about us and know about us. Well, of course, we work closely with donors, who can promote our capabilities.
Does an investor need to visit your hromada to review its electronic map?
- No, he can get acquainted with it online after we provide him with the appropriate link.
Is the creation of such a map expensive?
- Our card cost about UAH 1 million, since we have a fairly large area – 630 square km. But all this money was provided by the USAID project. Due to the map, our land management revenues should increase by 40%, or by UAH 2.5 mln.
So, investments were quite profitable: you invested UAH 1 million, and in a year you will receive UAH 2.5 million. Even if the hromada took a loan for the electronic map creation, it would be able to return it in a few months.
- Frankly speaking, I do not think that we would be able to take a loan for such a thing, since this would have to be done through the session, this is tied to many budget points and various legislative constraints. But theoretically it is possible. Although it is much more convenient to use hromada’s funds for such maps.
What is the most interesting thing you found out about your hromada due to the electronic map created with the help of the Agricultural and Rural Development Support project?
- It turned out that there are a lot of coal deposits in our AH. It was a surprise for us.
Did you find non-accounted forest areas not belonging to the control of any forestry enterprise?
- About 25 hectares. On their basis, we are now planning to develop recreational projects. GIS-based digital land accounting systems have changed our attitude towards our own resources.
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