UKRAINE—The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a new $17 million project to help Ukrainian farmers save the upcoming July-August harvest while ensuring export of critical agricultural goods to international markets.
The project, which is funded by Japan and implemented jointly with the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, aims to restore grain storage capacity and functionality of supply chains from harvest to export and also maintain productive capacity of Ukrainian farmers to facilitate future production.
Rein Paulsen, Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience, said “Ukraine’s farmers are feeding themselves, their communities and millions more people around the world.”
“Ensuring they can continue production, safely store and access alternative markets to sell their produce is vital to secure food availability, protect livelihoods, strengthen food security within Ukraine and ensure other import-dependent countries have a steady and sufficient supply of grain at a manageable cost.”
Ukraine is considered a breadbasket of Europe and a major exporter of wheat, corn and sunflower, supplying more than 45 million tonnes of grain yearly to the global market.
Currently, 20 million tons of grain are trapped in Ukraine because of a Russian blockade of its ports on the black sea. Getting the grain out by rail or truck is proving to be a huge logistical challenge which, even if resolved can only make up a fraction of the shipment of goods by ship.
This season Ukraine is expecting to harvest up to 60 million tonnes of grain. But the lack of export does not allow for the opening of available storage space for the new harvest, since 30% of the available capacity of granaries still remain filled with last year’s harvest.
“Within the new Japan-funded project, FAO will address storage deficit by providing the polyethylene grain sleeves, grain loading and unloading machinery to the smallholders and a variety of modular storage containers to the medium-sized producers and associations,” said Pierre Vauthier, Head of FAO Ukraine Country Office.
“Support will be provided to the farmers from ten oblasts of Ukraine: in the east, center, south and north of the country.”
Attempts by the U.N., Turkey and other parties to negotiate with Russia to let exports ship out of Ukrainian waters have so far failed. Moscow offered to help if the West lifted some of its sanctions and Ukraine cleared its mines around the ports.
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