The purpose of the AgroInvest project is to provide technical assistance to accelerate and broaden economic recovery in Ukraine and increase the country’s contribution to global food security efforts. AgroInvest is achieving this objective by supporting a stable, market-oriented agricultural policy environment, stimulating access to financial services for small and medium producers (SMPs), and facilitating a more effective market infrastructure for SMPs.
The scope of work identifies three main components, refined into six tasks, as follows:
- Component 1: Support a Stable, Market-Oriented Policy Environment
Task 1-a: Accelerate Market-Oriented Reforms
Task 1-b: Strengthen Industry Associations
Task 1-c: Provide Public Education for Land Rights
- Component 2: Stimulate Access to Finance
Task 2-a: Provide Sustainable Access to Financial Services for SMPs
- Component 3: Facilitate Market Infrastructure for Small and Medium Producers
Task 3-a: Producer Organization Development
Task 3-b: Develop Wholesale Markets and Other Market Infrastructure
AgroInvest is a five year project with an estimated completion date of January 24, 2016. The scope of this project encompasses the following U.S. Foreign Assistance Framework Program Areas: 4.2 Trade and Investment, 4.5 Agriculture, 4.6 Private Sector Competitiveness, and 4.7 Economic Opportunity.
From January to March 2015, the AgroInvest project team marked the following key activities and accomplishments:
- Commenced the activities of the Analytical and Coordination Platform for agriculture sector industry associations
- Selected experts and initiated activities of an analytical team in the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (MAPF) to build the capacity of the Ministry to analyze policy options and prepare legislation
- Initiated competitive selection of a subcontractor to conduct a study on responsible investments in the agriculture sector
- At the request of the MAPF, supported the activities of working groups and became increasingly involved in the ongoing development process of the Comprehensive Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development in Ukraine for the period 2015 to 2020, a strategy paper being prepared jointly by the Ministry and the European Commission
- Assisted in organizing and participated in the U.S.-Ukrainian Agrarian Congress on March 24 and 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
- Conducted a study tour for representatives of industry associations and government agencies to the Czech Republic and Poland to learn about the experiences of select EU countries in government regulation of agricultural and food markets and the role of self-regulating organizations
- Finalized a report on government regulation of agricultural and food markets and the role of self-regulating organizations in select EU countries
- Conducted high-profile capacity building trainings on advocacy activities for national and regional agriculture sector industry associations
- Presented the USAID AgroInvest Land Rights Public Education and Outreach Campaign at the 2015 World Bank Land and Poverty Conference in Washington, D.C.
- Continued to support land reform and training of legal land rights service providers through the Land Rights Resource Center and Web-Portal
- Continued implementation of the Ten Steps to Combat Corruption in Land Relations Program
- Initiated a comprehensive analysis of local administrations’ experience in providing regional subsidies for SMPs
- Launched a training program to familiarize farmers with new lending opportunities for potential borrowers of partner credit unions
- Supported the two national-level associations of credit unions in Ukraine in advocating policy changes aimed at improving access to credit for SMPs, conducting training seminars to share best practices in lending to SMPs, and conducting a training of credit union internal auditors and on-site internal audit sessions
- Conducted four agri-technological trainings (two for financial officers of partner financial institutions to increase their ability to issue and monitor loans to SMPs and two for credit union members)
- Advocated for the passage of the draft law of Ukraine #2052 “On Amending the Tax Code of Ukraine (regarding Improving the Value-Added Taxation of Agriculture Produce Produced by Smallholdings and Marketed through Agriculture Service Cooperatives),” which was initiated and developed with technical assistance from AgroInvest; the draft law was registered in the Parliament of Ukraine on February 6, 2015.
- Advocated for the passage of the draft law of Ukraine #1599 “On Amending Selected Laws of Ukraine on Stimulating Establishment and Operations of Family Farms,” which was initiated and developed with technical assistance from AgroInvest; the draft law passed first reading on March 4, 2015.
- Developed the draft law of Ukraine “On Local Agri-Food Markets” jointly with the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food and presented it for public discussion
- Conducted the first phase of a training program to develop a network of consultants for small and medium-sized enterprises on implementing and ensuring high performance of certification and food safety systems based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Global GAP standards
- Published two guides on bookkeeping for agriculture service cooperatives to help regulate relationships between cooperatives and their members who supply raw milk for processing and receive proceeds from selling finished products