EBRD continues to support Ukrainian grain sector development

By Anton Usov

Key sector players meet in Kiev to discuss strategy

The EBRD and the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food are continuing efforts to improve the climate for investment in the Ukrainian grain sector through better cooperation between the private and public sectors.

A grain sector roundtable entitled “Mechanisms for the effective interaction between government and private business in the grain market” is taking place in Kiev today. This event builds on the first roundtable organised by the Bank and the Ministry in January 2011, which allowed public and private sector representatives to meet and openly discuss sector issues for the first time. As a result of that unprecedented enterprise, key sector players signed the Initiative for Joint Action memorandum, which established core principles for a transparent grain market in the country.

Key grain sector participants in Ukraine - including the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, the Ukrainian Grain Association, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation, the Agrarian Markets Development Institute, the EBRD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - are assessing progress made in negotiations between all the stakeholders since the last roundtable.

The Ukrainian Grain Sector Working Group, created in the aftermath of the January roundtable, will present a report on its activities. It is supported by FAO, which has contributed enormously to the formalisation of the policy dialogue process. The Working Group includes both public and private sector representatives and promotes transparent dialogue between the stakeholders in the grain sector. It has met regularly between April and October 2011, and over this period and with the help of the Working Group’s activities, grain export quotas have been removed and replaced by export duties.

Continued policy dialogue in this sector is crucial for a country which has the potential to produce around 80 million tonnes of grain every year and whose aim is to become a leading global food supplier and so play a key role in addressing global food security.

“We welcome the ongoing policy dialogue between all parties in this important sector for the Ukrainian economy. The initial results are encouraging but there should be no place for complacency if this country really wants to have a properly functioning grain market with level conditions for all its participants,” said Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness.

In the agribusiness sector alone, the EBRD has directly committed more than €7 billion in over 440 projects across central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1991.

The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 1 September 2011 the Bank had committed over €6.7 billion (US$ 9 billion) through 281 projects.