FAO scales up efforts to save upcoming harvest in Ukraine

A new $17 million Japan-funded project aims to address the grain storage deficit and increase the export of critical agricultural goods to international markets.

FAO scales up efforts to save upcoming harvest in Ukraine
Grain elevator in Lvivska oblast, June, 2022. Photo credits: FAO/Viktoriia Mykhalchuk.
July 5, 2022

To address the impacts of the war in Ukraine on the global agricultural sector, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a new $17 million project to help Ukrainian farmers save the upcoming harvest in July-August while ensuring the export of critical agricultural goods to international markets. 

Funded by Japan and implemented jointly with the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, the project aims to restore grain storage capacity and functionality of supply chains from harvest to export as well as maintain the productive capacity of Ukrainian farmers to enable continued future production.

“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,” said Rein Paulsen, director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience.

Ukraine is one of the top-five global grain exporters, supplying more than 45 million tonnes of grain yearly to the global market. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, due to the blockage of Black Sea ports, the country still has 18 million tonnes of last year’s cereals and oilseeds harvested in stores waiting for export. Alternative rail and river routes cannot make up for the lost exports through maritime transportation and bottlenecks along new, potential supply chains that have yet to be resolved. 

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 remains 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. Support will be provided to the farmers from ten oblasts of Ukraine: in the east, center, south and north of the country,” said Pierre Vauthier, head of FAO Ukraine Country Office. 

In addition, the project will provide technical support to the government to operationalize alternative transport routes for grain export and foster the rapid expansion of technical capacity of the Izmail laboratory. The facility will enable farmers to meet international standards including veterinary and food safety testing and certification.