On 7 October 2020, the Sounding Board of the Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (hereinafter – the Program) was held in the online format. The 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), Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, organic and dairy sector stakeholders, and Program representatives.
At the 2nd Sounding Board meeting, the organic and dairy sector stakeholders participated in two separate sessions. They learnt about the Program results and shared their opinions about its performance, prospects, and relevance of its activities. The online event contributed to the policy dialogue among the stakeholders of both sectors which allowed generating some ideas and recommendations for the Program as to its activities for the next period.
Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the Program and long-term Swiss-Ukrainian cooperation. He told about the new projects planned or launched in Ukraine and stressed that there will be more capacity development opportunities for the organic and dairy sector participants: “This is the second time we have met at the Sounding Board meeting. This year is special, and not only for the organic and dairy sectors. The pandemic is making its own adjustments, and many things should be done online. Being responsible for the economic domain within the Embassy of Switzerland and analyzing the information, I can see what is happening in the domestic and international markets, and I understand how this is influencing the organic and dairy producers. I urge you to discuss the Program performance openly and suggest the next steps in the Program activity because this will help to develop an effective activity plan for the next year”.
Valentyna Zayets, Head of the Division of Organic Production and Quality Standards, Directorate of the Rural Development, Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, noted: “Organic sector development on the domestic and international markets is a priority issue for the government. A great deal of work has been done and significant results have been achieved thanks to the support of Switzerland, NGOs, organic stakeholders, and ministerial working group. Today, we are finalizing the organic legislative framework. 9 regulations have been approved and the last necessary resolution “On Approving the Procedure of Certification of Organic Production and/or Circulation of Organic Products” is being processed together with the lawyers of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. This document is extremely important for organic producers and certification bodies”.
Igor Kravchenko, Local Program Manager, highlighted the importance of the partners’ capacity development during the Program implementation: “I would like to thank for the support provided by our donor, the MDETA and SSUFSCP managers during our Program implementation. This Program year has been successful in both organic and dairy sectors, in spite of the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team consists of professionals ready to take on challenges, adapt their activities, and effectively implement the Program.
For the successful development of the organic sector, all the pending by-laws should be finalized and adopted so that the organic legislation can be fully launched. And the role of the structural organic division within the Ministry in this process can hardly be overestimated. It is very important that the government-supported Biofach-2021. We will continue working on strengthening our private sector partners, including through the Organic Platform.
Milk safety and quality are essential preconditions for the dairy sector development both domestically and internationally. One of the important tools to ensure this is the establishment of the raw milk control program. This is an extremely complicated issue that cannot be settled fast, as there is a number of challenges. We have to shape the image of safe and quality local milk among our consumers as well as on the international market – a positive image of the Ukrainian dairy sectors in general. For the dairy sector, it is important that the future structural changes within the SSUFSCP and MDETA took into consideration the necessity of support to structures and functions related to risk assessment and market analysis.
As for the private sector, we expect the initiatives which we are ready to support; the main condition is that they were in line with our Program objectives. This is the progress of our partners’ capacity development”.
Mykola Moroz, General Director of the Directorate of Food Safety and Quality, Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine noted:
“I am convinced that the results can be achieved only through cooperation among public authorities and representative of producers associations. We are currently working on the changes to the legislation regarding definitions of small-scale, local, and craft producers. Additionally, we are finalizing special hygienic requirements which also provide for certain preferences to small-scale producers. And, in particular, if we are discussing the plans for the next year, I would like to ask the Program experts to join the elaboration of the legislative framework. We are grateful for the cooperation between the MDETA and Program and will listen to the proposals and wishes to understand which changes to make”.
This event was organized with the support of 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), www.qftp.org.