Sowing the seeds of Ukraine’s agrarian future
Andy Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, is talking about Ukraine’s seed industry, in particular, seed certification, plant registration and innovative crop protection products in the new piece for Business Ukraine magazine.
Ukraine is widely known internationally as an agricultural powerhouse. Ukrainian agriculture represents 42.5% of the country’s total export and agricultural lands constitute 70% of the territory of the country. Today Ukraine is the number one sunflower oil exporter globally and world’s number two grain exporter. Being an essential part of the agrarian sector, seeds represent a highly competitive industry with advanced technological capabilities and a sharp focus on innovation. Since the 1990s, due to the prevalence of favorable conditions for growing crops, the seeds industry has been demonstrating massive potential and international companies have launched their businesses in Ukraine.
Safeguarding Ukraine’s Seed Industry
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has an established and functioning Seeds Committee. Its objective is to establish an efficient and predictable regulatory system in order to ensure the clear and transparent admission of novel crops and innovative crop protection products (CPPs) to the agricultural market of Ukraine. The Committee’s activities aim at stable functioning of the seeds industry of Ukraine and production intensification. This is possible only through improvement of the process of plant varieties and CPP registration and seeds certification in Ukraine, as well as support of the IPR legislative and regulatory initiatives in combating CPP and seeds counterfeits.
Seed Certification & Plant Registration
According to the Canadian Seed Growers Association, certified seeds are the product of a production process designed to deliver specific plant breeding achievements to farmers and the food industry. In other words, it is true-to-type. The use of certified seeds is crucial as it has numerous advantages such as varietal purity, guaranteed quality assurance, and new genetics. That is exactly why the more transparent and simple the certification system of Ukraine, the more access to new opportunities the agricultural market in general will have.
Meanwhile, the majority of Ukrainian bylaws that regulate plant varieties registration are currently under development. This state of affairs does not contribute to the well-being of the sphere. On the contrary, it minimizes business opportunities for seed companies and blocks development. Thus, experts of Chamber Member Companies are actively engaged in this process. It is high time to make it transparent and bring legislation in accordance to the best international practices.
Crop Protection Products: Innovation or Ruination?
It is impossible to imagine the seeds sphere without a crop protection system that protects crops against all harmful organisms or prevents their harmful effects. The inability to import unregistered crop protection samples for state trials in Ukraine is a big trade barrier for international companies today. Hence, business calls to open access to innovative plant protection products for agrarians in order to accelerate innovations in Ukraine.
Another crucial issue that is very acute in Ukraine is the destruction of obsolete pesticides. At present, Ukraine has numerous issues with utilization facilities that require significant modernization. Strategically, Ukraine should find investors to build new specialized facilities for pesticides destruction using international ecological standards that will help to deal with pesticides in an eco-friendly way inside the country.
There is a saying – as you sow, so shall you reap. Ukraine’s seeds system should be in line with the internal needs of the market, taking into account market trends, changes and tendencies of the global grain market and modern production technologies. The use of high quality sowing material and high-yielding plants is one of the main factors behind the intensification of production. There is no doubt that simplification of seeds certification and improvement of the legislative framework for plants and CPP registration is a key step towards the sustainable functioning and amelioration of the national seeds industry.