The United States’ Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has expressed support for Ukraine in its current political and economic situation, noting that he is well aware of the situation in eastern Ukraine. He said that the United States would continue focusing its efforts on facilitating development of the Ukrainian economy despite recognizing the fact that this will result in the emergence of another strong competitor on the world grain market.
The secretary of agriculture was speaking in an interview with representatives of the CFTS and the MIG Group (UkrTransAgro, UTA Logistics, and Maritime Logistics) after an address at the Kansas State University on November 1.
“We are helping you, but we also understand that we are making our competitor stronger,” Perdue said, referring to the dynamic development of the Ukrainian agricultural market in recent years.
The participants in the L.A.B. Logistics Agro Benchmark project visited the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center on the same day. The institution engages in research into development of new, more productive wheat varieties. The state of Kansas accounts for 20% of all the wheat that is grown in the United States. Currently, 12 million tons of wheat is stored in all the grain silos in the state.
Perdue and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center’s Vice President Aaron Harris said that local farmers are already facing competition from Ukraine. "You are very strong competitors against us. It is difficult for the United States to withstand competition in wheat sales in Africa and the Middle East. This is largely due to logistics, since shipping to these regions increases the price of our products. Therefore, we are concentrating on the markets of Central and South America. However, we are not planning to leave Africa – we still have strong positions in Nigeria and we recently unloaded the first grain ship in Egypt in recent years,” said Harris. He named Argentina, Australia, and Russia among the United States’ other competitors on the grain market.
The Center for Transport Strategies (CFTS) and the Mariupol Investment Group (MIG) are jointly implementing the L.A.B. Logistics Agro Benchmark project. During the first phase of the project, the participants in it visited more than 15 agricultural and logistics enterprises in Germany and France to study the features of agricultural logistics in these countries with the aim of applying what they learn in Ukraine. The second phase of the project, which has the same aims, is taking place in the United States.