The Ukraine Report: USAID is helping businesses stay afloat

Farmers in Ukraine have a lot on their plate to say the least, and USAID is lending a helping hand this week through fertilizer supplies.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

Since the first day of the full-scale invasion, USAID has been closely involved in helping Ukrainian businesses to stay afloat. In particular, the USAID AGRO programme. In particular, this week, 12,000 Ukrainian farmers were able to receive fertilizers for the autumn planting season.

Fertilizers are worth US$ 5 million and were provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. Each participant in the program will receive 1 tonne of NPK.

Amid low grain prices, expensive logistics, and rising seed prices, farmers are cutting fertilizer expenses. According to the US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, in 2023, fertilizer use in Ukraine shrank by around 55-60% on limited access to fertilizers.

The year 2023 is financially even more challenging for business than the previous one, as the emergency fund farmers had is over. Therefore, programs are arranged to support business and the economy itself.

Last year, the program was limited to the front line regions. Now we are going to distribute fertilizers to small farmers across the country, for we see the need everywhere and, unfortunately, it is growing.

Given the fall in the price of farm products, it is harder for growers to secure the necessary inputs for their businesses. The cost of plant protection products, fertilizers and fuel is on the rise.

With two or three fungicide treatments for wheat, we had only one. We were not able to buy the protection products for several treatments. As for fertilizers, we managed to apply the right amount because we used what we had in stock and also received help in spring. We could get normal yields. But just slightly over US$ 3 per bushel makes us hesitate to plant wheat.

For some small businesses, even the most basic help is a chance to grow a future crop. For example, for Taras Voitovych from Kyiv region, whose farm was under occupation.

The invasion and occupation set the company back 20 years. When the Russian soldiers invaded the farm, they burned all the equipment and crops that we were supposed to sell to buy supplies for the next season. After the liberation, we gave up for a moment because we had lost everything. But we knew we had to move on.

Farmers say that even the slightest bit of help gives them the strength to work even harder and keep Ukrainian agribusiness on top.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.

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