EBRD and its agribusiness partners to work together with Ukrainian government on boosting agriculture sector
The EBRD and its agribusiness clients met in Kiev this week to prepare a Private Sector Action Plan to boost the development of Ukraine’s agriculture sector and investment in it.
CEOs of the firms at the consultations identified the sector’s most pressing investment challenges and outlined priorities to be proposed to the new Ukrainian government after this month’s elections. The International Financial Corporation and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization also took part in the discussions.
"Ten of the participating agribusiness companies stated in a questionnaire that they are ready to invest US$ 1 billion in the next year,” said Gilles Mettetal, the EBRD’s Agribusiness Director.
“The EBRD can help them work consistently with the government to attract new financing to Ukraine and to ensure continuity in the reform process."
Between them in 2014, ten of the companies present at the meeting have already exported US$ 3 billion worth of agricultural products. It has been estimated that all EBRD agribusiness clients, together, employ more than 200,000 people in Ukraine and contribute more than US$ 10 billion of exports yearly.
According to those at the meeting, the first priority for agribusinesses is a more stable environment for investment, including clear regulations on taxes and import and export requirements, standardised quality controls, and a functional land lease market that will eliminate land tenure issues.
Similarly, Ukraine needs regulation of the economy overall to be made much simpler. Executives of the firms gathered in Kiev called for the elimination of red tape that can slow down business activity and exports.
Standards of education were also highlighted as a challenge to improving competitiveness. Companies at the Kiev meeting, some Ukrainian, some form abroad, proposed developing an agribusiness curriculum in partnership with the government to cultivate the next generation of agribusiness entrepreneurs and public sector officials.
The EBRD has stepped up engagement in Ukraine’s agribusiness sector. As of the beginning of this month, ten projects have been signed in the sector so far this year, for a total investment of €194 million.
The Private Sector Action Plan will help target future EBRD's investments in the agribusiness sector and ensure they respond to national priorities and support the industry's needs.