The US is announcing three new partnerships Thursday in an effort to boost Ukraine's agricultural sector and help supply the country's grain to the world, USAID officials told CNN.
The announcement is part of a deliberate effort by the Biden administration to build up Ukraine's economy and alleviate the global food security crisis which has been exacerbated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine is regarded as a key bread-basket for much of the world, and the country relies on agriculture to generates more than 40% of total export revenues. The country's economy shrank by more than 30% in 2022 after Russia's brutal invasion destroyed infrastructure, hurt businesses and disrupted daily life, according to Kyiv's economic ministry.
USAID's new partnerships with Grain Alliance, Kernel, and Nibulon are projected to increase Ukraine's grain shipping capacity by more than 3 million tons annually, the officials said. Each company has a long history of working in Ukraine.
Working together USAID and these organizations are planning to invest $44 million to support storage and infrastructure expansion in Ukraine's agriculture sector.
This comes after USAID has announced multiple different initiatives to support Ukraine's agriculture sector, including programs to specifically target Ukrainian farmers.
A Black Sea Grain deal has also enabled the passage of Ukrainian ships carrying the agriculture products to depart the country, which was a challenge in the early days of the war with Russia preventing the ships from leaving.
The new investments that USAID and its partners are announcing this week will target multiple terminals — Izmail and Reni in Ukraine, both on the Danube, and Čierna nad Tisou in Slovakia— where they expect to see an increase in grain exports. The operations will involve construction to renovate the areas where vessels are loaded.