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Ukraine: Positive development of the organic sector

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Organic lands in the Ukraine. Map c Ministery of Agrarian Policy and FOod of Ukraine.

The map gives detailed information about organic cultivated land and organic farming in the Ukraine. Graph © Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine/

Olga Trofimtseva, Deputy Minister on European Integration at the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, and Natalie Prokopchuk, Project Manager of the SECO-FiBL Project "Organic Market Development in Ukraine", share the same opinion: “The organic market in Ukraine is constantly developing.” According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the country has 42.7 million hectares of agricultural land and 289,551 ha are cultivated organically. Due to the geographical location, widespread fertile black soils and proximity to potential international buyers, the country has favourable conditions to expand organic agriculture, says an official report of the Ministry.

Olga Trofimtseva, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. Photo Karin Heinze

Olga Trofimtseva, Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. Photo © Karin Heinze

Organic area and operators

In 2017, the Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine collected operational monitoring data on organic agriculture among certification bodies that certified organic producers and traders of organic products according to the EU organic regulation. The data show the following: At 31.12.2016 there were around 289,551 ha organic which makes a share of 0,89% of total agricultural land. The statistics show 294 agricultural producers and 120 operators. The total number of certification bodies is 19. “Ukraine is one of the most important suppliers of organic raw materials for the EU nowadays”- says Mariia Makhnovets, organic trade consultant from Ukraine, co-founder of

The official fact sheet informs that the majority of organic operators in Ukraine are certified according to the EU organic standard, i.e. equivalent to EU Regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008, which are used for both export and domestic markets. In addition, Ukrainian organic operators are often certified according to US National Organic Program (NOP). Other organic standards used in Ukraine are Bio Suisse (Switzerland), Bioland and Naturland (Germany), COR (Canada), Soil Association (UK), and KRAV (Sweden).

Organic exports are a important pillar

In the last few years, Ukraine has become an important supplier of organic products for Western markets. The main organic export products from Ukraine are cereals, oil crops, pulses, wild collected berries, mushrooms, nuts, and herbs. According to data from the leading certification body, Organic Standard, in 2017, the top organic products (by volume) exported by their clients from Ukraine were: corn, wheat, soya, barley, spelt, sunflowers, hulled millet, rapeseed, blueberries (frozen), oats, millet, lupine, apples (fresh), buckwheat, mustard, elderberries (fruits), pumpkin seeds, birch sap, flax, flakes, rye, walnuts (kernel), sea-buckthorn (frozen), blackberries (frozen), rosehip  coriander, pea, elderberries (flowers frozen), wild strawberry (frozen), cranberries (frozen), apple juice concentrate, hawthorn (frozen), sunflower cakes, durum wheat flour, cowberry fruits (frozen), black chokeberry fruits (frozen), chamomile (dried), hemp, raspberries (frozen), and sunflower oil. This long list also shows the enormous diversity of organic products grown in the Ukraine.

At BioFach 2018 for the 5th time the Ukraine had a pavillion. Photo c Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

Lively discussions at BioFach 2018: For the fifth time, the Ukraine had a pavillion at the world's largest organic fair. Photo © Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

More and more Ukrainian operators intend to sell not only raw materials but also organic semi-processed and processed products abroad. In 2016 organic exports from Ukraine were about 300.000 tons with a value of more than 65 million US dollars (estimated data from the survey conducted by the Organic Standard certification body with all Ukrainian exporters). The organic exporters from Ukraine benefit from the Association Agreement signed in June 2014 between the EU and Ukraine, which has reduced trade barriers for Ukrainian exporters. Since January 2016, the EU and Ukraine have been applying the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which forms part of the Association Agreement. At the same time, Ukrainian exporters suffer from the EU guidelines on additional official controls on products from Ukraine, which have been applied since January 2016.

According to the Organic Standard data, the top 11 importers (by volume) of Ukrainian organic products of operators certified by all certification bodies are the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, ltaly, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Ukrainian producers also export to the U.S., Canada, Australia and some Asian countries.

Ms Trofimtseva introduced Ukrainian Products at Biofach. At BioFach 2018 for the 5th time the Ukraine had a pavillion. Photo c Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

Olga Trofimtseva at a presentation at BioFach 2018. Photo © Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

Policy on organic

The development of the organic market in Ukraine is one of the priority areas in the reforming strategy plan for the agricultural sector "3+5", which is based on the Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development 2015-2020. This strategy has been initiated and elaborated by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine in cooperation with local organic stakeholders and international partners. Experts of organic priority of the Strategy started their work in May 2017 at the Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Law on organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials No 425-VII was adopted on 03.09.2013 but has not been implemented. The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine has initiated a new draft of the organic law and elaborated it in partnership with key organic stakeholders and with support from international partners aiming at harmonization with the EU organic Regulation. This draft organic law on basic principles and requirements for organic production, circulation, and labeling of organic products is registered in the Ukrainian Parliament under No 5448 from 24.11.2016 and is now being fine-tuned by the Committee on Agricultural Policy and Land Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Ukrainian Parliament)

Marketing for the Ukrainian organic products. Photo c Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

Marketing for Ukrainian organic products. Photo© Mariia Makhnovets, Ukraine,

Domestic market: awareness has still to be grown

The domestic market for organic products started to emerge at the end of the 2000s, and in 2008, the first Ukrainian organic labelled products appeared on the shelves of Ukrainian retailers. The main sales channels are supermarkets and specialty shops in big cities. The assortment of organic products available on the shelves is still not full. Consumers can buy the following Ukrainian organic product categories in retail shops: dairy and meat products, grocery and bakery products, flour, macaroni products, vegetable oils, beverages as juice, birch sap, herbal tea, canned products (e.g.berry paste, syrup, jam), some vegetables and fruits, etc. The biggest challenge for the domestic market is a low awareness of organic among consumers.

Many interested people at a consumer fair in the Ukraine. Photo Toralf Richter

A consumer fair in the Ukraine. Photo © FiBL

Certification bodies

Seventeen internationally accredited certification bodies are included in the official list of approved organic certification bodies for Ukraine according to EU Regulation 1235/2008 (as of 14.12.2017). These are: Organic Standard, Bio.inspecta AG, Ecocert SA, CERES Certification of Environmental Standards GmbH, Control Union Certifications, Kiwa BCS ÖkoGarantie GmbH, Ecoglobe, lstituto Certificazione Etica e Ambientale (ICEA), Lacon GmbH, Suolo e Salute srl, Agreco R.F. Göderz GmbH, Bioagricert S.r.l., Ekoagros, A CERT European Organization for Certification S.A., Letis S.A, CCPB Sri and Valsts SIA "Sertifikäcijas un testesanas centrs". The only Ukrainian certification body is Organic Standard; all others are foreign or their local branches. Since 2015 most of the certification bodies active in Ukraine have participated in the Platform Ukraine at the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC).]

International support

Ukraine had been receiving international support for the organic market development from Switzerland: Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Swiss Agency for Developmentand Cooperation (SDC), and Bern University of Applied Science (BFH) since 2002,fromGermany: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture(BMEL), Agriculture & Finance Consultants (AFC)and IAKAgrar Consulting since 2016,from the USA: USAID through the Agrolnvest project in 2011-2016 and the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARDS) project since 2016 and the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) since 2017, from Canada: Global Affairs Canada and Mennonite, Economic Development Associates (MEDA) through the Ukrainian Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP) since 2014, and The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), EU4Business and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) since 2016.

The Ukrainian state logo for labelling of organic products was officially registered as a trademark owned by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. In 2018, the Ukrainian National Pavilion celebrated its fifth anniversary at the international organic trade fair BIOFACH -




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