Global food security was a key area of discussion at the international conference, which gathered together representatives from over 20 countries. After Russia's aggression, agriculture in Ukraine is working at 50%. Ukraine's export of agricultural products is 3 million tons per month. Before the war it was 5-6 million tons. Russian aggression blocked international trade and exports and disrupted food security, which cannot exist without policies that guarantee continuous food supply chains. Entrepreneurs, industry organizations and Polish transhipment ports, entities that met in Warsaw during the "Agro & Food Security Forum 2023", have a role to play in improving this market situation. Taras Vysotskyi, First Deputy Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine emphasized the importance of Polish-Ukrainian cooperation, which is so important in the current situation.
Issues related to the current and future consequences of the armed conflict in Ukraine on the food market in terms of challenges and needs
in supporting a safe supply chain were the subject of discussion panels. "Agro & Food Security Forum is an international conference organized by the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and the Ukrainian Pulses Association. During the panels, we talked to experts and business representatives about global and regional food security and Polish-Ukrainian cooperation in the agricultural sector, also in the European Union context. During the Forum, we focus on challenges and solutions, not on political issues. We create a platform for participants of the agri-food market to jointly constitute a framework for shaping international policy in the dimension of food security. So important in the context of the current geopolitical situation." – emphasized Jacek Piechota, President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce.
In Poland, we produce 14% of GDP in the food sector. For Ukraine, agriculture is one of the most important branches of the economy, which has been constantly developing in recent years. This shows that this area requires cooperation and understanding of all parties involved in this industry. And although the conference participants noted that the market situation has stabilized and grain exports from Ukraine have increased, there are still areas that require improvement and cooperation. “According to estimates of the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture, this year's harvest will be even lower than in 2022. Russian aggression has radically changed the agricultural sector in Ukraine. There is also a shortage of labor because most men are fighting at the front. This causes huge losses in small farms. There is also less and less land for cultivation, for example due to warfare and mines. It is important to remember that small farms are also the basis for local food security, which is so crucial in times of war. ” – noted Antonina Sklarenko, President of the Ukrainian Pulses Association.
Taking into account the current situation and barriers to the development of the agricultural market in Ukraine, as well as the unstable security of the food supply chain, participants pointed out the need to take steps in the field of:
- improving capacity at the border;
- increasing the transhipment volume;
- development of transhipment infrastructure;
- ensuring efficient transport access, including the handling of ships
with greater load capacity and length .
Industry representatives also pointed out the need to strengthen and improve the protein crop market and develop a rule for plant protein production at the global level. Part of the pulses market is rebounding in Ukraine. The Port of Gdansk is involved in supporting the trade of Ukrainian pulses. Therefore, exports are also made through Poland. Ukrainian logistics associations strengthen foreign trade. This is part of the positive changes highlighted during the international conference by participants from Turkey, Canada, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria and, of course, Ukraine.
The day before the conference in Warsaw, a 60-person delegation of Ukrainian entrepreneurs went on a study trip to the seaports in Gdańsk and Gdynia. The purpose was to get acquainted with the infrastructure and potential of the ports. During the meeting in Gdańsk, the port, its infrastructure and parameters characterizing the dynamics of its development over recent years and the further investment plans were presented to guests from Ukraine. There was also presented the largest container terminal on the Baltic Sea - Baltic Hub, where the largest container ships arrive. The second stage of the trip was a visit to the Port of Gdynia. This is the port with the largest grain transshipment among Polish ports. The guests listened to a presentation of the port, as well as speeches by representatives of Gdynia's grain terminals. Ukrainian agricultural producers and logisticians were particularly interested in the possibility of sending additional grain transports to the terminals and the possibility of storing them and loading them onto ships.
The conference was held under the patronage of: the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Republic of Poland and the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine and The Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy of Republic of Poland.