Ukraine is Open for Business: European supermarkets to supply indigenous Ukrainian food for 10 million refugees.

Kwayga, an online matching platform for national and international B2B buyers and suppliers within the food and beverage industry, today hosted a webinar that outlined the current projection of Ukraine’s food supply chain and a 6-month outlook that included discussed opportunities for buyers and suppliers through digital supply chains in the food and beverage sector.

Speakers at today’s webinar included Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Trade Representative at the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, Thérèse Healy, Ambassador of Ireland to Ukraine, Larysa Gerasko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Ireland, Andrii Sheveliev, Ukraine Export Lead for USAID. Mariia Dehtiarova, Export Promotion Manager at U-Food Association, as well as Derek Mc Guinness, Logistics Officer at the World Food Programme (United Nations) and Dmitry Miroshnikov, CEO at Ukraine Intensive Exports Program.

The discussions centred around a number of topics that included the future of Ukrainian exports, supply opportunities within the Ukrainian Food and Beverage sector and the practicalities of sourcing from Ukraine in 2022 and beyond. Additionally, the country’s application for EU membership was also analysed and the possibilities of growing the economy and opportunities presented to the state should their application be accepted.

Before the war, Ukraine exported on average about 6 million tons of agri-commodities monthly to countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Currently, only about 15 to 20 percent of this volume can be exported via rail, Danube river, and trucks (about 700,000 tons in April 2022 and about 1 million tons in May 2022). Trade risks related to Russian exports have been increasing due to sanctions by various trade partners and banks. This led to price spikes and supply chain disruptions significantly undermining food security in poor importing countries.

For example, global trade of cereals except rice is a little less than 20 percent of total world production (about 620 million of about 3.3 billion tons produced in 2020/2021). Total production is sufficient to feed all 8 billion inhabitants of the world, but production in semiarid countries is less and some countries are behind their potential. That’s why trade plays an important role to balance global supply and demand. In the 2020/21 season, Ukraine provided 69.82 million tons (11.3 percent) of cereals to the world.

Ukraine also exports oilseeds (sunflower, soybeans, rapeseed) with a well-established crushing industry to produce sunflower oil. Fifty-two percent of globally traded sunflower seed and oil came from Ukraine in 2020. Currently, edible-oil supply chains are disrupted and edible-oil prices have increased even higher than cereals prices.

Speaking about today’s webinar, MIke McGrath, COO and Co-founder of Kwayga said: “We were delighted to host this webinar and offer a unique insight into the current and projected outlook on the Ukrainian economy and its exports sector.

We are also proud to play a small part in assisting the food and beverage industry in the Ukraine and opening up opportunities for suppliers in the region to export their products to new marketplaces across the world. We believe that technology can play a pivotal role in assisting Ukrainian businesses across all industries and sectors. I believe those of us who are in a position to assist the Ukraine, its people and its businesses, must act and do so and ensure that we support the country in its darkest hour of need.”

Also commenting on today’s webinar, Andrii Sheveliev, Ukraine Export Lead for USAID Economic Resilience Activity said, “It was great to speak today with Mike and many other experts, who are all working together to re-establish Ukraine’s supply chains. What is important to remember is that in Ukraine this is not only grain and cooking oil. Our food sector has numerous modern manufacturers with great added value, cost and other advantages.”

Derek McGuinness, Standby Partner at the World Food Programme said, “Today’s webinar allowed us to discuss some of the issues and challenges that many are facing when exporting supplies from Ukraine. Carriers arriving at the border crossings exiting Ukraine are causing long delays because they do not have customs seals on the covers. To ensure smooth transition at points of entry to the EU, exporters need to ensure they follow customs procedures to  prevent unnecessary long delays.”

Thérèse Healy, Irish Ambassador to Ukraine also spoke about today’s webinar, “Ukraine is renowned for its wide selection of high quality foods, for a customer-oriented service and good distribution systems. Despite the challenges that war has brought, Ukraine has invested heavily in reinforcing its supply chains and in getting food and other products out smoothly to the European and other markets. Ukraine is open for business and is a reliable partner.”

Currently, Kwayga operates in 37 countries and plans to become more widespread across Europe to connect the right buyer with the right supplier at the right time. Through Kwayga’s Messaging Centre with automated translation services, businesses will have no boundaries when it comes to cross border trading. This in turn will allow smaller businesses to scale and grow their business to greater heights.

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