Since the organic production is becoming increasingly popular and widespread in Ukraine, farmers more frequently raise questions about possible legal ways to protect the right to organic farming from the activities of neighbouring or strip farming land owners or land users.

According to the Law of Ukraine “On Production and Turnover of Organic Agricultural Products and Raw Materials” dated September 3, 2013 (as subsequently amended), the production of organic products (raw materials) is defined as production activity of individuals or legal entities (including growing and processing), which excludes the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, preservatives, etc., and provides, at all stages of production, for the application of methods, principles and rules defined by this law to obtain natural (environmentally friendly) products, as well as the conservation and restoration of natural resources.

Production activity of individuals and legal entities on cultivation and processing of organic agricultural products can be carried out subject to the acquisition by such persons of legal right to produce organic products on grounds and in accordance with the procedure established by law. In particular, such a right shall be acquired by individuals and legal entities, which have been assessed as to organic (raw materials) production compliance, received a certificate of compliance and are included in the Register of Producers of Organic Products (Raw Materials).

Legal requirements are enshrined in this law regarding the specifics of the production of organic agricultural products of plant growing, livestock raising, beekeeping and aquaculture. In case of failure to comply with requirements of the law, agricultural commodity producer risks losing the right to produce organic products.

At the same time, the right to produce such products may be interfered by actions of neighbouring owners or users of adjacent or strip farming land plots engaged in production of traditional agricultural products produced pursuant to common production technologies, where chemical protection agents, synthetic mineral fertilizers, growth stimulants may be used.

This raises the questions about possible legal ways to protect the right to organic farming from the activities of neighbouring land owners or land users. The above law contains no legal instructions as to the protection of such right from lawful or unlawful actions of adjacent agricultural producers or other third parties.

Since there are no special norms of the law on legal ways to protect the right to organic farming, it appears advisable to apply general rules of the effective Land Code of Ukraine regulating land good-neighbourly relations, as well as norms of the effective Civil Code of Ukraine on compensation for damages or removal of obstacles when exercising property rights or right to use land plots.

In particular, according to the effective Land Code of Ukraine (Articles 103 to 104), owners and land users of land plots must choose those ways of using land plots pursuant to their designated purpose, which are less inconvenient to owners and land users of neighbouring land plots (shading, smoking, unpleasant odours, noise pollution, etc.). At the same time, adjacent owners and land users of land plots are obliged not to use land plots in ways that do not allow owners and land users of neighbouring land plots to use them for their designated purpose (impermissible impact). Owners and land users of land plots are also obliged to cooperate when performing actions aimed at securing land rights for each of them and using these plots with introduction and observance of advanced technologies for growing crops and protecting land (exchange of land plots, rational organization of territories, observance of crop rotation, installation and preservation of landmarks, etc.).

According to the law, owners and land users of land plots may require termination of activities on a neighbouring land plot, carrying out of which can lead to harmful impact on the health of people, animals, on air, land, etc. Should these requirements be violated, organic agricultural producer may apply to court for protection of violated right to produce organic agricultural products and compensation for damages caused.

Volodymyr Nosik, Of Counsel, Land & Agro, exclusively for