Predictable, transparent and efficient policies are crucial elements to the future development of the Ukrainian grain sector. As a result, the Ukrainian Grain Association and APK-Inform dedicated the third Ukrainian Grain Congress (UGC) to “Development of the grain market through efficient agrarian policies”. The organization of this important event was supported by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine with assistance from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and other national and international organizations including USAID, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation (UAC), the US-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), the European Business Association (EBA) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine (ACC). In honor of World Food Day, the Congress took place on 16 and 17 October 2012 in Kiev and was attended by nearly 200 participants from government, international development organizations, financial institutions, private sector companies, and academic institutions.
Roundtable topics included public-private partnerships in the grain market, macroeconomics of the grain market, and Black Sea grain market trends. FAO and EBRD had a strong presence at the Congress and were the hosts of the roundtable session on public-private dialogue, drawing upon experiences and lessons from an ongoing joint FAO/EBRD project “Reinforcing Public-Private Dialogue in the Ukrainian Grain Sector”. During that session, staff from FAO’s Investment Centre Division and the Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia gave presentations on the private sector and government cooperation, improving transparency in the Ukrainian grain market, and an analysis of current grain market challenges.
As was the case at the second Congress, the second day was dedicated to a specific case study. The organizers invited representatives of private and public institutions from Iowa, USA to share experience on grain production, processing and trade. Due to climatic and soil similarities, farming conditions in Iowa provide an ideal correlation for Ukraine. The USAID-funded Agroinvest Project implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International kindly provided support to the participation of speakers from the United States.
The success of this Congress once again has shown that Ukraine is moving along the right path toward a prosperous and expanding grain sector. With continued growth in population and demand for food, the Black Sea region will need to reach its strong potential and increase production significantly. Eugenia Serova, Senior Advisor in FAO’s Investment Centre and a panelist at the third Ukrainian Grain Congress, commented, “This Congress was particularly successful at highlighting the key requirements, such as transparency of policies and easy data access, that the world grain market needs in order to grow.” The Congress proved an excellent forum to achieve the dialogue and exchange of information that will help this production increase become reality.