Export and effective cooperation of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, Ukrainian organic sector stakeholders and international partners will save the organic market of Ukraine

published 25 November 2022 17:05

On 22 November, the official opening of the international online event Organic Export Days 2022 – Ukraine, Albania, Serbia took place which was organised with the support of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as “Ministry”). The State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office” (EEPO), national project Diia.Business, Organic Initiative and supported by Switzerland within the framework of the Swiss-Ukrainian programs “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (QFTP) and “Organic Trade for Development” (OT4D) were the event organisers from Ukraine. Importers, representatives of international trade organisations and exporters from Ukraine, Albania and Serbia will be able to participate in B2B meetings, which will be held online from 22 November to 2 December 2022 on the B2Match platform.

During the official opening, the event participants had the opportunity to learn about the organic sectors and the export potential of Ukraine, Serbia and Albania. The event consisted of three sessions for each country where Ukraine was represented first.

Taras Vysotskyi, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, spoke about the state of development of the organic market in Ukraine and legislative support for the organic sector. Ukraine ranked 21st in the world and 13th in Europe in terms of organic agricultural land in 2020. According to the import report by the European Commission, in 2021 Ukraine entered the top five in terms of imported organic agri-food products in the EU with a share of 6.6%. Taras Vysotskyi noted the importance of European support for Ukraine by suspending import duties for all goods exported from Ukraine to support our country's economy. The decision taken by the European Commission to exclude Ukraine from the list of countries for organic products from which additional control measures are applied was a significant positive impact on the development of the export potential of the Ukrainian organic sector, which simplified and accelerated the export procedure. Mr. Vysotskyi noted the importance of Ukraine’s participation in international exhibitions with agri-food products and expressed his hope for participation in the world´s largest trade fair of organic products BIOFACH in February 2023, where the National Pavilion of Ukraine will be presented, organised by EEPO with the support of international partners.

Toralf Richter, Senior Consultant FiBL, Switzerland, in charge for developing international markets in OT4D and QFTP programs, explained that the event is an important intermezzo between the trade fairs for organic food products BIOFACH 2022 and BIOFACH 2023. In his speech, he also emphasized the importance of Ukraine, Serbia and Albania as relevant suppliers of organic products to Europe. He further stated, “But in this moment, we have to be thankful for each participant from Ukraine, who made it able to join on the Organic Export Days. It can’t be taken for granted and we admire the braveness and courage of our Ukrainian colleagues to continue with the organic sector and export development regardless of the war.”

Alejandro Espinoza, Senior Manager of Capacity Development, IFOAM – Organics International, congratulated the event participants and briefly spoke about the main activities of the OT4D program, namely supporting the sustainable development of the organic market in Ukraine, Serbia and Albania. He is convinced that improving trade and promoting the organic market will benefit these countries. During Organic Export Days 2022 – Ukraine, Serbia, Albania, participants will be able to present their products, leave applications for certain products and meet potential partners. This may be the first step to building long-term business relationships. In addition, Alejandro Espinoza invited those present to join the OT4D program’s activities.

In his speech, Andrii Remizov, director of the State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office” (EEPO), emphasised that EEPO has provided vital support to Ukrainian organic exporters. The main challenges for exporters are disrupted logistics routes and damaged infrastructure. As a result of the russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as of June 2022, the Ukrainian agricultural industry suffered losses of more than USD 4 billion. Despite all the obstacles, the Ukrainian organic producers continue their operations. For example, in accordance with the results of a survey of organic businesses conducted by the Ukrainian stakeholder platform “Organic Initiative” and Organic Ukraine NGO in July 2022, 42% of organic operators have not undergone changes in their operations, and 50% continue organic production, but with certain changes. In addition, organic producers have managed to develop alternative logistics routes and continue to export organic products. New organic exporters are also emerging, due to reduced demand in the domestic market, this is becoming the main alternative to selling products. Andrii Remizov also spoke about supporting Ukrainian organic exporters by organising Ukrainian collective stands at international organic trade fairs such as BIOFACH 2022 (Germany), Nordic Organic Food Fair 2022 (Sweden) and Middle East Organic & Natural Product Expo 2022 (United Arab Emirates), dissemination of the Catalogue of Ukrainian Organic Exporters 2022, Ukrainian organic sector analysis (8 months since the full-scale war in Ukraine) and establishing business relations, including through such events involving Ukrainian organic exporters and international buyers as Organic Export Days.

Natalie Prokopchuk, Organic Component Coordinator of the Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (QFTP) thanked the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine for its effective work in creating an organic regulatory framework, European integration and improvement of business environment, as well as organic policy dialogue at the international and national levels. She also emphasised the crucial role of EEPO and Organic Initiative in promoting the development of organic exports, as this is a salvation for the recovery of the Ukrainian organic sector in this difficult time for Ukraine. She also noted that 2022 was an anniversary year, namely, the 20th anniversary of the Swiss support for the development of the Ukrainian organic market, and that neither COVID nor the russia's full-scale invasion affected the stable and reliable Swiss-Ukrainian cooperation.

Sergiy Galashevskyy, General Manager of the certification body Organic Standard, spoke about the successes and challenges for Ukrainian organic producers in recent months since the start of russia's full-scale invasion. Since 2016, Ukraine has been increasing the export of organic products every year. If it was at the expense of volume earlier on, but now the number of higher value-added organic products has increased in recent years. In 2021, it was possible to export organic products worth about USD 220 million, and the EU remains the primary market for Ukrainian organic products, with a share of 82%. The event participants were pleasantly surprised by the data of the European Commission (Traces) on the increase in the export volume of Ukrainian organic products to the EU for 10 months of 2022 (177,802 tons) compared to the same period in 2021 (140,992 tons). This was achieved thanks to a good harvest in 2021 and the efficient work of exporters and their international partners. May and June were the most productive export months of 2022. If not for a full-scale war, the volume of organic exports would be even greater. For example, the export of sunflower seeds increased by 203% compared to the same period in 2021 and amounted to 11,710 tons. As the speakers of the event noted earlier, logistical disruptions due to a full-scale war are one of the significant obstacles to the export of Ukrainian organic products. The main modes of transportation for the delivery of Ukrainian organic products are railway, road transport and water transport (sea/river). This year, organic producers have preferred road transport and delivered 104,572 tons of organic products, while in 2021 – 66,449 tons. It is important to mention that Ukrainian exporters and their international buyers managed to take advantage of all modes of transportation and even increase the export volume of Ukrainian organic products to the EU and Switzerland for each mode of transportation (for ten months of 2021 – 147,093 tons, for ten months of 2022 – 191,582 tons), including by vessels, as they actively used the river ports.

The materials (presentations and video recording) and the results of the official opening of Organic Export Days 2022 – Ukraine, Albania, Serbia are available at: Organic Export Days 2022 - Organicinfo.ua


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