Today in the Port of Odesa in Ukraine, USAID Administrator Samantha Power denounced Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative that is hugely important in moving Ukrainian food to the global market, and announced that the United States, through its Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine), is providing an additional $250 million to support Ukraine’s agriculture sector that has been battered by Russia’s aggression. This brings the U.S. government’s total investment in the AGRI-Ukraine initiative to $350 million.
Ukraine’s agricultural products and grain are critical for the world’s food supply and key to the country’s economic recovery and future prosperity. USAID, through AGRI-Ukraine, will continue to help Ukraine’s farmers produce, store, and export agricultural products and grain to the world. To date, USAID has leveraged $250 million in private sector contributions in support of AGRI-Ukraine along with today’s additional investment, USAID is seeking an additional $250 million in leveraged support from the private sector, other donors, and foundations.
Russia’s relentless attacks have caused more than $6.6 billion in direct damage to the agriculture sector. Farmers have endured 19 months of danger to their livelihoods and families, along with destroyed land and equipment. Russia’s disruption of maritime commerce since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, including blockading ports, delaying ship inspections, and, most recently, withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, has severely choked the amount of grain Ukraine is able to provide to the world amid a global food crisis.
With the additional $250 million, USAID will continue to expand critical agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation, grain elevators, trans-shipment facilities, and port and border infrastructure. USAID will also expand its support to enable small- and medium-sized agricultural businesses to access the financing and agricultural inputs they need to move forward with their 2023 sowing and harvesting plans. Ukraine’s agriculture accounts for 20 percent of Ukraine’s gross domestic product, 40 percent of Ukraine’s exports, and 17 percent of Ukraine’s workforce.
Launched in July 2022, AGRI-Ukraine has reached more than 30 percent of Ukraine’s registered farmers with critical inputs like seeds and fertilizer, agricultural and financial services, and storage. USAID is supporting infrastructure investments that will increase the rate of loading and unloading in Danube ports, and enhancing western border checkpoints and rail lines to expedite and facilitate trade, decreasing export costs for farmers. Thanks to USAID support, farmers packed and stored 843,268 metric tons of grain, and more than 600 farmers accessed almost $49.8 million in desperately-needed bridge-financing. In the past year, the Agency further enabled credit unions to extend more than $1.4 million in loans to over 600 micro and small agricultural producers.
Partnership with the private sector and the international community has been vital in AGRI-Ukraine’s success. As of today, Bayer has invested and donated over $80 million and has also donated seeds to 25,000 home gardens and farmers. Grain Alliance, Kernel, and Nibulon have expanded their investments by more than $36 million to increase Ukraine’s grain shipping capacity by more than 3.35 million tons annually. Corteva Agriscience joined AGRI-Ukraine to increase farmers’ access to the latest crop protection technologies, agronomic support, and financing tools. The World Bank also joined AGRI-Ukraine in March, providing $132 million to support four Government of Ukraine programs including low interest finance, greenhouse and orchard development grants, land for farmers, and support for water user associations.
For more information on AGRI-Ukraine and how to partner with USAID to support Ukraine’s agriculture sector, visit the AGRI-Ukraine: www.usaid.gov/ukraine/agriculture-resilience-initiative-agri-ukraine.