21 Jul 2022 19:42

Ukrainian agrarians have raised 47.7 bln hryvni in loans - Agriculture and Food Ministry

MOSCOW. July 21 (Interfax) - Ukrainian agricultural producers raised 26,616 loans worth in aggregate 47.738 billion hryvni in 2022 under the Affordable Loans 5-7-9 program, Ukrainian media have reported citing the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry on Thursday.

Since mid-March, a special easy loan program has been offered to agricultural businesses to conduct a sowing season, under which they were able to borrow up to 60 million hryvni under 0%, with 80% of the loans guaranteed by the state. Agricultural producers received loans worth a total of 38.507 billion hryvni under the program. Since June 1, applications for financing the agricultural sector have been accepted under the regular 5-7-9 program.

The program helps small and medium-sized agricultural businesses to receive financing to acquire fixed assets and refund any expenditures related to agricultural operations. The program is also aimed at creating jobs in the sector.

Meanwhile, agriculture producers have issued a petition to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to propose holding a joint conference on preventing negative trends on the grain market. The petition was initiated by members of the committee of agriculture businesses at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ukrainian media reported with reference to its website.

The authors of the petition said they need urgent support in replenishing working capital, having loans extended, and setting relations with retail chains. Due to huge debts to processing companies, agricultural producers cannot purchase raw materials and grain from farmers.

"Farmers have never had harder times than now. The situation requires the state's intervention due to a number of problems, such as ultra-low purchasing prices, a lack of storage facilities, slow logistics, and the retail sector's debts," the Chamber of Commerce and Industry quoted its member Viktor Sheremet, first vice president of the Farmers' Association, as saying.

The chamber's committee said that, due to the blocking of Ukrainian maritime logistics, higher fuel prices, shortage of working capital, and declining prices for agricultural raw materials, winter crops for a new harvest are likely to be significantly reduced.

"It looks like the current corn harvest will remain under snow," the petition says.

Another serious challenge for farmers this year will be the purchase of seeds, fertilizers, and fuel, and the preservation and export of grain. A number of agriculture businesses and farms are likely to go bankrupt due to inability to export their products and challenges facing the Ukrainian agricultural sector as a whole.