WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with agribusinesses Grain Alliance, Kernel and Nibulon to invest more than $44 million in storage and infrastructure expansion in Ukraine’s agriculture sector to help overcome long-term export logistics challenges amid the country’s war with Russia.

The investments are projected to increase Ukraine’s grain shipping capacity by more than 3.35 million tonnes annually, bolstering Ukraine’s economy and bringing much-needed grain to the global market. 

The co-investments include $8 million from the USAID Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine) and more than $36 million from these three private sector partners, two Ukrainian and all with deep ties to the local agricultural economy.

The transshipment investments will increase grain export operations at three terminals: Izmail and Reni in Ukraine, both on the Danube, and Čierna nad Tisou in Slovakia. 

Kernel and Nibulon investments cover a range of expansion needs, which includes design and construction to renovate berths at the Port of Reni and to expand the Port of Izmail operations capabilities. 

Grain Alliance will be purchasing a transshipment storage facility in Slovakia that will include building silos and procuring transport equipment such as trucks and railcars. USAID’s funding is being used to procure grain loading equipment, temporary storage structures, and remanufactured locomotives for use in Ukraine.

Agriculture accounts for nearly 20% of Ukraine’s GDP, employs 20% of the workforce, and generates more than 40% of total export revenues. The USAID-led AGRI-Ukraine helps Ukraine increase its capacity to produce, store and export grain to the world and to help stabilize global prices. AGRI-Ukraine provides critical agricultural supplies, improves export rail logistics and efficiency, increases farmers’ access to finance, and supports storage, drying and processing needs. 

Grain Alliance has operated in Ukraine for more than 20 years, helping solidify Ukraine’s role as one of the world’s largest food exporters. Grain Alliance currently cultivates about 60,000 hectares and operates six grain elevators with a total drying and storage capacity of more than 300,000 tonnes. 

Kernel is Ukraine’s largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil and largest exporter of grain. Its integrated grain and oilseed value chain includes 363,000 leasehold hectares under farming, 3.5 million tonnes capacity for sunflower seed crushing, 2.3 million tonnes of storage capacity and 10 million tonnes capacity at deep-water export terminals. 

Over the last 30 years, Ukraine’s Nibulon has created a vertically integrated grain logistics infrastructure network that includes 80,000 hectares under cultivation and a total capacity of over 2.25 million tonnes storage. Nibulon employs 6,000 people and has invested more than $2.3 billion in the Ukrainian economy. This includes $600 million in a fleet of 82 modern vessels, currently blocked because of the war with Russia, which began on Feb. 24, 2022. 

USAID has contributed an initial $100 million to AGRI-Ukraine, and, with these new partnerships, has leveraged more than $70 million in private sector investments. USAID seeks to leverage an additional $80 million from fellow donors, the private sector and foundations, with an overall investment target of $250 million.