Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Agriculture Resilience Initiative - Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine), announced a new partnership with Bayer to address the immediate and longer-term demand for corn seed among Ukrainian farmers and other countries that depend on seed from Ukraine.
AGRI-Ukraine is a USAID-led initiative to bolster Ukrainian agricultural production and exports, support Ukraine’s embattled economy, and help to alleviate the global food security crisis exacerbated by Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine. It focuses on providing critical agricultural supplies, improving export rail logistics and efficiency, increasing farmers’ access to finance, and supporting storage, drying, and processing needs. AGRI-Ukraine is critical for strengthening Ukraine’s export and agricultural sector, which will remain vulnerable to and affected by the Russian Federation’s aggression in the months and years to come.
Bayer plans to invest approximately $34.9 million (35 million euros) to boost the capacity of the company’s seed processing facility in Pochuiky in Ukraine’s Zhytomyr region. Opened by Bayer in 2018, the facility is the largest of its kind in Ukraine, and one of the largest in Europe. It processes high quality corn seed for farmers across Ukraine and beyond and employs over 100 permanent and 250 seasonal employees.
Bayer’s investment includes boosting the capacity of their seed dryer, providing additional field equipment, and adding supplemental storage facilities. By increasing the plant’s capacity, Bayer will also create new employment opportunities in the region, in addition to covering the corn seed demand in Ukraine and beyond.
Bayer’s investment builds on the company’s more than 25 years of support to Ukraine’s agriculture sector. Agriculture is the bedrock of the Ukrainian economy, accounting for nearly 20 percent of Ukraine’s GDP, 20 percent of the workforce, and more than 40 percent of total export revenues. In the wake of the Russian Federation’s brutal invasion, Bayer has donated more than 40,000 bags of corn seed that will enable more than 1,250 smaller farmers to grow food. It also has donated funds for a mechanical mine clearing machine to help farmers grow food safely in coordination with the U.S. Department of State-funded demining operations.
Ukraine’s agriculture sector has immense needs. Putin’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine has reduced production of barley, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seed, and wheat by 30 to 40 percent, drastically diminished Ukraine’s export capacity through the Russian Federation’s months-long blockade of Black Sea ports from late February to August, and left exports dependent on severely constrained rail capacity. In the long term, rail export routes must be improved and expanded to avoid dependence on Black Sea ports, and allow Ukraine to efficiently access regional markets. Ukraine requires substantial supplemental storage due to these export constraints, and it continues to face a limited supply of critical supplies like seed, fertilizer, and fuel. The costs of planting, irrigating, fertilizing, harvesting, and transporting crops have all risen substantially, draining away farmers’ primary source of income and jeopardizing their ability and willingness to plant for future seasons.
USAID, through AGRI-Ukraine, contributed $100 million and seeks to leverage an additional $150 million, including from fellow donors, the private sector and foundations, with an overall investment target of $250 million. For more information on AGRI-Ukraine and how to partner with USAID to support Ukraine’s agriculture sector, visit the AGRI-Ukraine link: www.usaid.gov/ukraine/agriculture-resilience-initiative-agri-ukraine.