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Founder of Agrohub Platform; Co-founder of ‘Radar Tech’ technological cluster, McKinsey&Co alumna

Julia Poroshenko

The cost of land and labour in Ukraine is a medium term competitive advantage

The main investment opportunities include the market of livestock and poultry products, application of more than one processing stage to pulses and oilseeds, investments in logistics infrastructure, bio-energy, and the use of alternative energy sources for processing raw materials. In this case, cattle breeding and biofuels can be segments with a cumulative effect for investment, i.e. feed production, processing of waste into biofuel, and production of semi-finished products by controlled technology. Most likely, multinational corporations with expertise and access to global markets and supply chains will be engaged in the development of these segments.

He firmly believes that Ukraine has been artificially separated from Russia and sees the emergence of a democratic, European Ukraine as a deliberate attempt to spark the next stage of a Russian imperial retreat which began in 1989. In other words, Putin is convinced that preventing the loss of Ukraine is a matter of existential importance for the survival of the Russian state.

Involvement during Russia’s war against Ukraine

Julia and Oleksii Poroshenko in cooperation with the INSEAD alumni association founded the project — the purpose of which is to facilitate the process of finding the necessary assistance in Ukraine and abroad for temporarily displaced Ukrainian families.

How do you assess the impact of Ukraine’s gained EU candidate status on the development of the agricultural industry?

A positive, though not rapid impact, is expected. The candidate status requires a transition to compliance with basic standards and regulations in production. The current abolition of quotas on exports to the European Union was an advance that increased the effective selling prices of several export items. It enables compensating the logistical discount from sales of grain to more distant destinations and facilitates additional processing of agricultural products in Ukraine right now.

Compliance and high standards are basic constraints to expanding supplies to Europe. Yet, for non-EU members, they are more stringent on a number of parameters: banned pesticides, GMOs, animal welfare requirements, antibiotics and hormones in feed, traceability of origin, etc.

Amid significant restrictions, insufficiently compensated by subsidies, the cost of land and labour in Ukraine is a medium-term competitive advantage.

What are the prospects of the construction of plants for hybrid seed production in Ukraine, and how can it influence the country’s food security?

Even before the war, Ukraine was developing domestic production of seed materials under licenses from originators or directly by large originators. However, almost everything produced was intended for domestic sales and not designed for exports to other countries.

Such factors as favourable cost of the land lease, improved investment climate, and qualified inexpensive labour combined with the extensive soil and climate potential of hybridization testing grounds are sufficient to invest in this segment.

Such a trend will have a positive impact on food security, although not definitive. Seed production in Ukraine will mainly reduce the cost of production for farmers due to the absence of import duties and VAT. The fact is that a substantial part of the crops produced is varietal and the seed material is grown from elite seeds by producers themselves (wheat, barley, soybeans, rye, etc.).