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October 11, 2011

Organic Food Production Develops Fast in Ukraine

Kyiv, October 11, 2011. Over the weekend Kyiv hosted an organic open market called "Organichny Dyvogray" which took place in downtown area for the second year in a row. The producers of organic food from all over Ukraine offered their produce to the visitors demonstrating growth of the relatively new, but very perspective branch of Ukrainian agriculture – organic food production.

The idea of organizing such a market belongs to the Illinets State College (Vinnytsia Oblast) was initiator of organic food production in Ukraine, according to Iryna Syniavska, head of the department of scientific and educational promotion and rural areas development at the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine.

Ukraine is world famous for its black soils. While being a part of the Soviet Union the country had been called a “Bread Basket” by the Western world due to its powerful agricultural production. At the beginning of the 90’s a lot of Ukrainian farms couldn’t adjust to the new market conditions, suffering from the inherited Soviet inefficiency, and ultimately shut down their production and became abandoned. Such tendency drew attention of Western investors who came to Ukraine and established first farms with organic production in Ukraine.

“That’s how it all started in Ukraine. In early 90’s big Western companies were finding bankrupt farms that for an extended time didn’t put pesticides in their lands, certified them and started an organic food production,” explains Nina Antoschenko PR-Manager of Organic Food Production Association “Biolan Ukraine.”

Currently, Ukraine actively cooperates with many countries around the world in organic food production development. Among those are Switzerland and France. “We have significant support from the Swiss who work on Ukraine-Swiss organic food production project. The project participants have become first proponents to the bill on organic food production in Ukraine,” mentioned Iryna Synyavska.

According to international partners that work with Ukraine in agricultural sector the country makes dynamic progress in organic food production. “Switzerland supports agricultural organic sector since 2003 among other sectors which are part of our technical and financial cooperation with Ukraine. The focus on organic food we started with creation of an association of organic certification “Biolan” and support to several farmers that were interested in shifting towards organic production,” said Guido Beltrani, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.

Today, there are about two hundred farms in Ukraine that work in organic food production. However, there is big interest in organic food from domestic and foreign corporations. “It’s a new market [organic] in Ukraine. There are a few certified organic food producers in Ukraine by now. But there is a big interest to this sector especially from the E.U. countries and the United States. I think that Ukraine should go into the same way,” said Henri Barnabot, French Agricultural Advisor to the Ukrainian government.

Along with bright perspectives for organic food production in Ukraine the country should overcome unresolved legislative challenge, said Nina Antoschenko. Recently, President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych vetoed the bill passed by the Ukrainian Parliament on organic food production because it lacked clarity in assigning responsibilities of the involved parties. At the same time, a few weeks ago giving his speech in New York the Ukrainian President stressed out the importance of organic food production in Ukraine. “Therefore we hope that in the end of this year the bill [on organic food production] will be completed and become a law,” concluded Nina Antoschenko.