EBRD promotes organic farming and food production in Ukraine

By Anton Usov


русский перевод

Specialised event to discuss opportunities and challenges for local organic producers accessing export markets

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is creating new opportunities for the Ukrainian agricultural manufacturers to be successful and competitive in international markets. The latest initiative of the EBRD is aimed at domestic organic food producers, who are interested in participating in the global market for certified organic food and drinks. It is closely linked with the current strategy of the Ukrainian government, which places the development of organic farming, processing and retail business among its top priorities.

A specialised one-day event financially supported by the US Treasury, which will be taking place in Rivne, western Ukraine, will be devoted to challenges and opportunities for the Ukrainian organic food producers, who would like to tap into the world organic food market, the capacity of which is estimated at around US$80 billion. The event is organised by the EBRD, Organic Ukraine Union and supported by the Rivne Oblast Administration and the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.

According to expert estimates Ukraine currently has about one hundred eighty registered organic food companies, which operate at around 400,764 hectares of certified organic farmland (1% of total arable lands in Ukraine). This is by far below EU countries (for instance Austria uses 19.4% of it arable lands for organic farming), so there is a scope for growth. Given its geographical location, the country is well placed to cater the needs of the European Union (EU), the organic food market of which grew fourfold in the last decade. Consumers of organic food in the EU countries are spending twice as much per capita than they did 10 years ago and this trend is likely to continue. At the same time the EU has limited land resources for organic farming and is forced to import organic produce from more than 130 countries outside Europe in order to meet constantly growing demand. The event, which will gather representatives of public and private sectors, including representatives of the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine, Local administration professional associations, academia, sector experts, manufacturers and traders, will focus on building regional and international supply chains, strengthening the competitiveness of local organic producers and building capacity of small and medium companies in the Ukrainian organic food sector.

Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Taras Kutovyi said: “Through the Ministry’s Strategy of Reforms “3+5" we support efforts aimed at the development of the organic food market in Ukraine by strengthening its competitiveness, improving competence of producers and creating a positive image of the Ukrainian organic products abroad. The development of this market segment will help improve cash flows of domestic organic manufacturers, create new jobs, especially in rural areas, and offer better environmental solutions for local agribusiness. In this respect today’s event is an important platform, which we will help, in cooperation with our partners from the EBRD, promote this important undertaking”. 

The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. As of end-May 2016, the Bank had a total cumulative commitment of over €11.6 billion through 364 projects in the country.