Ukraine: FAO and EU project aims to respond to violations in the agricultural sector
According to FAO, food security has deteriorated rapidly since the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, causing significant destruction of farmland, agriculture and other civilian infrastructure, and disrupting supply and value chains.
FAO’s latest national assessment of the impact of the war on agriculture and rural households shows that one in four of the 5,200 people surveyed have reduced or stopped agricultural production because of the conflict.
Strengthening and consolidation of value chains
This EU-funded project, which initially started with a preparatory phase in February 2021 but was later suspended due to the war to refocus on meeting current needs, provided emergency aid to more than 6,000 farms between March and May 2022. rural households. This assistance met the immediate needs of the population for agricultural products, cash, vegetable seeds and seed potatoes to continue food production for household consumption.
With this new plan, rural households, small farms and small agricultural enterprises will benefit from a $15.5 million project funded by the EU and implemented by FAO to support the functioning, strengthening and consolidation of value chains in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
The project will focus on supporting producers in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia and parts of Chernivtsi region with matching grants for on-farm and value chain investments, as well as extension and advisory support.
Difficulties in accessing financing
“This assistance is necessary to meet the food needs of the indigenous and displaced population in the west of the country and to solve the urgent and short-term food security problem in the rest of the country,” he said. The agricultural sector in the EU delegation in Ukraine noted that such measures would be “important to avoid a food crisis by 2023”.
On the ground and with the persistence of war, a large number of market actors, including households and family households, individual producers, small businesses, traders and processors, face difficulties in accessing inputs, finance and investment.
The main challenges expected in the coming months for both crop and livestock activities are low income from the sale of crops, limited access to fertilizers or pesticides, as well as fuel or electricity for electrical equipment.
Timely manufacturer support from $1,000 to $25,000
“The testimonies of the people and families I met during my visits to newly accessible areas confirm the need for urgent support. At the same time, it is imperative to support the government in its efforts to develop the agricultural sector and strengthen and diversify value chains,” said Pierre Vauthier, head of FAO’s office in Ukraine.
More broadly, this EU-FAO project aims to provide timely support to agricultural producers and smallholder agricultural enterprises by providing them with immediate access to finance, technical and business development advice and market information. The investment support program will be implemented through the State Agrarian Register (SAR) of Ukraine and will start from March 2023.
Grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, and recipients will be required to make an equivalent contribution to fund the proposed investment.
“In times of war, these investments are needed to ensure the functioning of agricultural producers, support their adaptation to a changing environment and lay the foundations for sustainable development,” said Hanna Antoniuk, FAO project manager in Ukraine.