FAO and EBRD assist Ukrainian grain operators

By Anton Usov

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have demonstrated their support for the agricultural sector in Ukraine by developing a new methodology to improve forecasts for supply and demand in the country’s grain sector.

The new methodology was unveiled at a conference in Kiev on 1 December, attended by senior representatives of the FAO, the EBRD and the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture.

This latest innovation will help grain operators have a better understanding of harvest prospects and it will mitigate information discrepancies and provide higher quality market information.

It is especially important for crop forecasting- key element in the decision-making process, which involves the government, farmers, banks, and grain processors.

It also engages public and private grain sector operators in Ukraine in a constructive dialogue on the forecasting process thus creating better market transparency and predictability.

Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness said, “Good market forecasts related to grain production are very important. We need them in order to be able to anticipate price changes and to get the supply and demand picture at regional and national levels. Such information allows banks to assess market value and risks and makes the grain sector more attractive for potential investors”.

“Further dialogue between private sector players and grain markets regulators in Ukraine would hardly be possible without a transparent and reliable grain supply and demand estimates. The FAO and the EBRD were able to help the Government of Ukraine to develop a single methodology for calculations using the information already provided by various government agencies. We hope that the round table participants will recommend this methodology for its implementation by the Ministry of Agriculture of Ukraine", said FAO economist Mr Dmitry Prikhodko.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is the biggest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 1 July 2009, it had committed €4.3 billion through 179 projects.