FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO supports Ukraine in leveraging its agricultural export potential

Following a request by the Government of Ukraine, FAO is supporting the country create a foreign agricultural attaché infrastructure. The idea behind this is to help Ukrainian agrifood producers enter foreign markets, through increased awareness of the country’s food-production potential, and by providing professional in-market support to Ukrainian suppliers and future buyers.

“The activity supports the development and capacities of agricultural attachés to promote effectively, and encourage agricultural exports with the best potential,” said Mark Hellyer, FAO international trade expert.

FAO has therefore developed a handbook on ‘agricultural economic diplomacy’, detailing the role of an agricultural attaché in-country, as well as an associated training course based on good practices that should build knowledge and skills among the attachés as they fulfil their roles. In May, a training of trainers took place involving potential agricultural attachés and advisors; representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and its Ukrainian Diplomatic Academy also attended the event.

“The objective of this six-module training course was to provide trainees with the necessary skills to fulfil the role of an agricultural attaché and to get a basic understanding of how global food-supply chains work,” said Sergii Nerpii, FAO international trade expert who worked together with Mark Hellyer as a project trainer. “The training is intended to improve the quality of agrifood export support functions in all the countries where Ukraine has embassies, as well as the capacity of embassy staff who perform agricultural attaché functions.”

“Building the infrastructure for agricultural economic diplomacy that supports the overall agricultural export promotion architecture in any country is a phased process,” said Iryna Kobuta, FAO economist. “There is a lack of experience in operationalizing the system in Ukraine; therefore, it is important to provide the necessary support and share the experience from the beginning.”

To incorporate the system into Ukraine’s structures, the country needs to develop a national agricultural economic diplomacy strategy, and pilot country-level agricultural economic diplomacy plans by agricultural attachés who will be working in Ukraine’s embassies. Promotional materials and a contact database should also be developed for reference and use by future agricultural attachés and partners, in order to further support agricultural economic diplomacy activities and wider communication for Ukraine’s export diversification and promotion.

25 June 2021, Kyiv, Ukraine