KYIV, UKRAINE — The Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said on Aug. 4 that his country is creating a world grain reserve under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). Ukraine would take on the responsibility to form the reserve of 10 to 12 million tonnes of grain, preserve it and make grain interventions on the market following the respective decisions by the UN.

Ukraine's 2011 grain crop at the moment is 35.6% larger than the amount of crop harvested by August 2010. According to the minister, these indicators allow Ukraine to create the world grain reserve fund.

"We brought a motion to the UN suggesting creating the world grain reserve on the territory of Ukraine," said Prysyazhnyuk. The minister also noted that Ukraine can now position itself as one of the world grain market leaders.

World grain reserve would presumably be used to regulate world grain prices by intervening in the market in times of low grain supply. This would provide for the stability of world grain prices as well as guarantee food security of the global population. Given the ongoing famine in Africa and global food insecurity, the creation of the world grain reserve is expected to be a useful tool for the UN in its struggle to provide humanitarian assistance in line with the UN World Food Programme.

Ukraine used to bear the title of the breadbasket of Europe and has been referred to as such ever since. It is estimated that Ukraine produced approximately one quarter of all agricultural output of the Former USSR. Experts believe Ukraine's annual grain production to be at least 33-35 million tonnes per year, which leaves a substantial amount of grain for export considering the fact that the domestic consumption is set at the mark of 25-26 million tonnes. Ukraine expects to harvest over 40 million tonnes of grain in 2011.

Earlier, the President of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine Mykola Bezuhly said that the future world grain reserve is to be managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations while international financial institutions will sponsor the fund.