EU and FAO funds aim to restore Ukrainian agriculture to pre-war levels
04 Jan 2023 --- A partnership between the EU and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will provide US$15.5 million to ensure and support Ukrainian food systems impacted by the ongoing war.
The funding will support the continued functioning and reinforcement of value chains in agriculture, fisheries and forestry during conflict conditions.
The support program will be managed through Ukraine’s State Agrarian Registry (SAR) and will be launched from March, focusing on rural households, smallholder farms and small-scale agricultural enterprises.
Grants will be awarded to support berries, vegetables and aquaculture value chains in Lvivska oblast. Across the Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska and parts of Chernivtsi Oblast, assistance will be provided for producers of Hutsul sheep bryndzya, Hutsul cow bryndza, Zakarpattia honey, and Zakarpattia wine.
Christian Ben Hell, sector manager for agriculture at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, stresses the need for these funds to prevent an agricultural crisis.
“The EU funds for this FAO project aim to re-establish or reinforce pre-war level functionality of agricultural value chains,” he explains.
“This is needed to meet the food requirements of local and displaced populations in the west and address food insecurity elsewhere in the country in the immediate and short term, and will be critical to averting a food crisis in 2023.”
FAO recently assessed that one in four of 5,200 respondents in Ukraine has reduced or stopped agricultural production entirely due to the conflict.
The EU-FAO project started in February 2021, has already provided emergency support for Ukrainian agriculture. From March to May of 2022, it delivered cash, vegetable seeds and seed potatoes to enable continued food production in over 6,000 households.
Pierre Vauthier, head of FAO Ukraine country office, flags the need for urgent support.
“The testimonies of the individuals and families I met during my visits to the newly accessible areas confirm the urgent need for immediate support toward restoring their household capacities and avoiding dependence on humanitarian assistance,” he stresses.
“At the same time, it is imperative that the Government is supported in its efforts to develop the agriculture sector and to strengthen and diversify value chains.”
Hanna Antonyuk, project manager at FAO Ukraine, explains the need for adaptability in the face of conflict.
“Although the required analytical work was completed before the war, its escalation altered the programming environment and reshaped the priorities of the agri-food sector participants,” she says.
“The project aims to provide timely support to agricultural producers and small-scale agricultural enterprises with urgently needed access to finance, technical and business development advice and market intelligence. During wartime, these investments are necessary to secure the operations of agricultural producers.”
The project also aims to assist the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences in collecting and preserving plant genetic resources unique to Ukraine.
By James Davies
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