On 28 October 2020, the 2nd Steering Committee meeting of the Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (hereinafter – the Program) was held online. The aim of the event was to discuss the Program implementation progress, approve the annual progress report and activity plan for the first half of 2021. The invited participants included the representatives of the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine (hereinafter – the MDETA), State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection (hereinafter – the SSUFSCP), organic and dairy sector stakeholders, and Donor representatives.
Serhii Hluschenko, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, welcomed the participants:
Organic and dairy sectors are crucial both for the country and our Ministry. The Ministry will accelerate approval of regulations, so that the Law of Ukraine “On the Main Principles and Requirements to Organic Production, Circulation and Labelling of Organic Products” could be fully launched. Moreover, together with the Program and SSUFSCP we will work on upscaling the pilot project “Raw Milk Control Program” on the national level. In the near future, we are planning to hold a strategic session and approve the activity plan for the next year. So today I would like to discuss not only what has already been done, but also what we are going to do next. I would like all the issues related to these two sectors and supporting tools that we regularly discuss were included into the agenda and be prioritized in 2021. In addition, there have been structural changes within the Ministry and we hope for the Program’s support in strengthening the relevant directions of our activity.
Acting Head of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection Olga Shevchenko noted:
The Program combines theory and practice. This is not only developed legislative acts required for organic and dairy sectors operation, but also practical experience transferred by experts and professionals. Training of inspectors for supervision in organic production and circulation of organic products is extremely important for the SSUFSCP, and it was agreed with the Program implementing agency for the next half of the year. A remarkable example is joint work for further integration of IT-platform “Dairy Module” and fine-tuning of the proposals as to functional changes with its users. Despite the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperation of Ministry, SSUFSCP and Program did not stop which demonstrates that our collaboration is not in vain. This Program gives real and practical improvements, and we also understand that a lot more is ahead.
Barbara Jäggin, Project Manager, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), thanked the Program team for the efforts made at this difficult time and highlighted:
I would like to highlight three important aspects for the Swiss Confederation: A partnership approach, the need for a modern (organic) legislation, and the importance of institutional capacity within the organic and dairy sector. We support our Ukrainian partners since many years and see that they are ready to take the responsibility of leading and managing both sectors. Our relationship is based on trust, commitment to the common cause, and hard work! The Quality Food Trade Program supports with international expertise where needed to contribute to a more competitive and growing dairy and organic sector.
The annual progress report and activity plan of the Program for 01.01.2021 – 30.06.2021 was presented for consideration and approval by the event participants.
The activity plan of the organic sector provides for support of the regional forums and Organic Ukraine Congress under the patronage of the Ministry in cooperation with oblast state administrations and Organic Ukraine Non-Governmental Organization of Certified Organic Producers, facilitation of policy dialogue through organization of working meetings for the representatives of the Ministry, SSUFSCP and EPO at the International Organic Trade Fair “BioFach 2020”. With the purpose of raising awareness about organic agriculture various publications will be elaborated, updated and distributed. In the frame of the Program organization of organic events within the framework of the International Agroindustrial Exhibition “AGRO-2020”, organic conference and organic fair by the Organic Federation of Ukraine in cooperation with the Ministry will be supported. Technical expertise and support aiming at implementation of organic legislation of Ukraine will be provided as well as the support with regard to capacity development of the Ministry, SSUFSCP and EPO. The Program will also support “Organic Initiative” coordinated by the organic stakeholders, contributing to value added trade on the domestic and international markets.
For the first half of 2021, the activities with the Dairy sector component will aim at further support and joint organization of the events and activities related to raising awareness about implementation of hygienic requirements to milk quality and safety and measures for the transition period. In the frame of the Program regular policy dialogue, in particular in the frame of the working group to improve the regulation and state control of raw milk production for placement on the market, will be supported. The SSUFSCP and Ministry will be supported in further integration of risk-based concepts in risk management and inspection procedures. The roadmap for the implementation of the “Raw Milk Control Program” on the national level using the “Dairy Module” will be elaborated. Moreover, a network of public and private service providers will be supported for the purpose of sharing competence and knowledge regarding best practices of milk production and facilitation of higher value added trade with dairy products.
The activity plan of the Program provides for support of the marketing strategy of the Carpathian Taste PU, in particular active brand promotion, work with mass media, social networks and official website development, participation in fairs, exhibitions and conferences. Among other activities, the online store launching and label design will be supported. The showroom and tasting room operation in Lviv will be resumed and the tasting room in Zakarpattia oblast will be established. Capacity building of Carpathian Taste PU members is extremely important for the Program. With this regard training and support of the Public Union members in compliance with food legislation regarding food labelling will be organized. Close cooperation with other projects is also planned.
This event was supported by Switzerland within the framework of the Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” implemented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) in partnership with SAFOSO AG (Switzerland).