UHA: Ukrainian Vegetable Growers will Receive State Support for the First Time in 29 Years
A few days ago, at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Concept of the State Target Program for the Development of Vegetable Growing for the Period until 2025 was approved, says Kateryna Zvereva, Development Director of the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA), FAO International Consultant:
“This is the first step of the state towards supporting the vegetable growing industry. Since the spring of this year, the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA) has been collecting proposals from farmers and producers of vegetable products for the further development of the industry. In the summer, active cooperation with the relevant ministry began, primarily regarding state support for small Ukrainian producers.
With the assistance of the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine Taras Vysotsky, the cooperation of the departments of the Ministry with specialized associations of producers and with the personal support of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine Igor Petrashko, it was possible to create a concept of the state target program for the development of vegetable growing for the period up to 2025 of the year.
By approving the Concept, the government listened to the opinion of Ukrainian vegetable growers.
Numerous meetings of the working group on promoting the development of potato and vegetable growing under the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine were held to determine a timely concept for the development of the industry.
The Ukrainian Horticultural Association developed the concept in conjunction with the Institute of Water Problems and Melioration, the Institute of Vegetable and Melon Growing, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine and Ukrainian vegetable producers. The main problem to be solved by the concept is to provide the population of Ukraine with high-quality vegetable and melon products, as well as the development of effective competitive production.
It is pleasant to note that by approving the Concept the government listened to the opinion of Ukrainian vegetable growers. This will create conditions for the effective development of the vegetable growing industry, strengthen the position of the Ukrainian producer and provide the population of Ukraine with its high-quality vegetable products.
State compensation should be provided, first of all, to agricultural vegetable cooperatives, stimulating the association of small producers.
Today, up to 90% of the Ukrainian vegetable market is in the shadow, which in monetary terms amounts to at least UAH 40 billion. Small farmers and family farms with access to government support must act in a legal framework and integrate into the modern commercial market. That is, instead of spontaneous trade, there should be a systematic supply of products, effective cooperation, and legal income. This will allow the industry to develop, the state to develop, and consumers will be confident in the quality and origin of the products they consume.
Now Ukraine imports a lot. Imports of vegetable products are growing, while exports, on the contrary, are decreasing. In the previous year, 2019, a negative trade balance was obtained in foreign economic operations with fresh vegetable products, which amounted to almost $ 100 million – the export of vegetables decreased to 70 thousand tons, and imports amounted to about 200 thousand tons.
For Ukrainian vegetable products to be competitive in the domestic and foreign markets, it is necessary to ensure a professional process of growing, collecting, processing, and storing products. A small farmer cannot do this on his or her own. For the development of the vegetable industry in Ukraine, it is necessary to create an infrastructure for processing products in villages or areas specializing in the cultivation of one, two or three crops. In this case, the so-called first class of products would be prepared for the fresh market, and the second would be raw materials for processing enterprises. The same compensation should be provided specifically to agricultural vegetable cooperatives because this will be an incentive for the unification of producers. Therefore, state support in partial reimbursement of construction costs and/or the purchase of equipment for cooperative packaging centres for fresh vegetables and melons, as well as a partial refund of the cost of construction of new greenhouse complexes.
The implementation of the State Target Program for the Development of Vegetable Growing will allow by 2025:
- to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of vegetable growing by providing the population in full with high-quality, affordable products;
- to increase the share of enterprises engaged in the production of vegetables, including family farms and agricultural cooperatives, as well as to create corresponding specialized clusters;
- to ensure the effective development of domestic agricultural science.
A new stage is ahead, and by joint efforts, it is necessary to develop a program for the development of vegetable growing for approval by the government, so that for the first time in 29 years, vegetable growers receive state support from Ukraine.
At the meeting of the Government, the concept of the program for the development of industrial potato growing for 2021-2025 was also approved. It provides for the further development of the market infrastructure, the construction of modern potato storage facilities, new processing facilities and the restoration of the old ones.”