Ukraine Seeks to Establish Itself as the Granary of Europe – Financial Times
KYIV, Ukraine, December 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
“With its rich black earth and bountiful supplies of grain, Ukraine was once known as
the “breadbasket of Europe”, reads the article by Roman Olearchyk in the Financial Times.
After twenty years of being independent Ukraine yet again aims at becoming number one in
global barley, corn, wheat and sunflower oil export.
Ukraine, which historically has been one of the largest producers of agricultural
products among the countries of the former Soviet Union, has gone through some difficult
times in the 90s. Ukrainian agricultural GDP declined by more than 50 percent between 1991
and 1999, reported OECD. It took the country about 10 years to increase its grain
harvesting to more than 55 million tons in 2011 compared to less than 25 million tons in
1996, 1999 and 2000.
There is still a huge potential for Ukraine to become one of the leading players in
global food production. The plan is to increase grain production to 80 – 100 million tons
a year, and vegetables – to 30 – 40 million tons a year and a lot of it will depend on
investments, said Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov on July 26. According to the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Ukraine could increase its oilseeds and
grain production by 100 percent over the next decade, reads the article in FT.
Evidently, the climate, geographical location, rail network, and labor cost create
favorable conditions for agriculture in Ukraine. “It’s [agriculture] the only economic
sector that showed positive gains during and after the global financial crisis that hit in
late 2008,” said Ukrainian expert Bohdan Chomiak in his September interview with FT. He
also noted that, currently, the sector had been working on 40 percent capacity.
Ukraine claims its position as one of the leading agricultural countries in the world.
The country with an area of 60 million hectares (148 million acres) has about 42 million
hectares (103 million acres) of agricultural land, including 33 million hectares (over 81
million acres) of the arable land. Almost half of the arable land in Ukraine is black soil
- the most favorable soil for agriculture. Presently, Ukraine ranks number one in global
barley exports. In 2011, Ukraine became world’s largest sunflower exporter, according to
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine