State statistics on potatoes grown in Ukraine do not match the actual figures and are exaggerated by about two-thirds, according to Serhiy Rybalko, vice-president of the Ukrainian Association of Potato Growers.
Rybalko: “The gross harvest of 20-21 million tons was in fact 12-13 million tons at best.” Rybalko expressed this view at an Interfax-Ukraine press conference. According to him, statistics, especially in the field of potatoes, have remained unchanged over the past decade, while reality is changing rapidly.
“Most of the harvest is thrown away and used as animal feed. Ukrainian potato consumption is about 4 million tonnes, based on calculations by the Ministry of Health, this amounts to 120 kg of potatoes per person per year. 36 million people living permanently in the country. “
Rybalko said Ukraine became import-dependent for potatoes in 2020, importing about 0.5 million tons from abroad. That is about a quarter of the total retail demand.
Rybalko urged authorities not to underestimate the magnitude of this problem. “Two years ago Ukraine exported the same volume and supplemented the state budget with an amount of more than € 88 mln. And now the state is spending the same amount to solve the deficit in the domestic market.”
Executive Director of the Ukrainian Association of Potato Growers Oksana Ruzhenkova said statistics should be clear as the situation now scares potential foreign investors. Inaccurate data was also used in the development of a five-year government program to support potato cultivation, she said.
Ruzhenkova: “The agricultural departments of the regional authorities, when making a program to support the sector, did not provide the Ministry of Development of the Economy, Trade and Agriculture with reliable data on the potato growers and their plans for the construction of potato storage facilities, factories and processing plants, on the state of irrigation, and so on. ” According to the expert, the amount allocated to growers is considerably lower than the potential of the sector.
Ruzhenkova cited the lack of an algorithm for providing financial compensation for the construction of enterprises for the pre-sale finishing and processing of potatoes, the refusal of scientific institutions of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences to assist in the control and development of the necessary industrial standards, methods, guides, harmonization of European and Ukrainian legislation in the field of industrial potato cultivation, as other shortcomings of the program.
Source: Agro Messages Abroad