Not long ago, Ukraine was one of the largest producers of food for export. It was the fifth largest exporter of wheat and the second largest exporter of sunflower oil.
Russia’s brutal invasion in February 2022 changed all that. Its armed forces deliberately targeted Ukraine’s food production and transportation facilities. They bombed and burned crops and sowed fields with mines, blocked transport ships carrying Ukrainian wheat from leaving Black Sea ports and destroyed grain storage facilities.
Thus they prevented Ukrainian crops from reaching the world markets, leaving some of their most reliable customers, humanitarian aid organizations, with no food to deliver. This exacerbated an already deadly situation in regions which depend on food aid to stave off hunger.
That is why the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, in July of last year launched the Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ukraine, also known as AGRI-Ukraine.
AGRI-Ukraine aims to help Ukrainian farmers overcome many of the worst obstacles to producing, storing and transporting food in war-torn Ukraine. In turn, their success will help alleviate the global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. In the long run, AGRI-Ukraine will be critical to supporting Ukraine’s export and agricultural sector needs, which will remain vulnerable to the Russian Federation’s aggression in the months and years to come.
Most recently, in late January, USAID and the Bayer pharmaceutical and biotechnology company announced a new donation of high-quality vegetable seeds to 25,000 Ukrainian households and micro-farmers. Bayer has previously donated over 40,000 bags of corn seed. This builds on USAID’s partnership with Bayer to increase farmer access to corn seeds through a $34.9 million investment to boost the capacity of the company’s seed processing facility in Ukraine. It has also contributed funds for a mechanical mine clearing machine to help farmers grow food safely, in coordination with demining operations funded by the U.S. Department of State.
AGRI-Ukraine aims to increase Ukrainian farmers’ access to critical agricultural necessities such as seeds, fertilizer, equipment, and crop protection products . It works to improve Ukrainian export infrastructure and thus its capacity and capability to efficiently export agricultural goods, increase farmers’ access to financing, and expand the capacity of Ukrainian businesses to dry, temporarily store, and process agricultural commodities.
The United States stands with Ukraine and remains committed to supporting the country and its people in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war.