27 April 2023

U.S. Ambassador Bridget A. Brink visited the Danube river ports of Reni and Izmail to highlight the U.S. government’s sustained support for Ukraine’s grain exports and its economically vital agricultural sector amid Russia’s ongoing full-scale war against Ukraine. The United States is working with the private sector to mobilize investment and ensure the Danube ports can play a greater role in exporting Ukraine’s grain despite Russia’s continued disruption of Black Sea shipping. 

Ambassador Brink and USAID/Ukraine Mission Director James Hope joined Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and Oleksiy Vostrikov, head of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority, and representatives of private companies in on-site discussions about how the U.S. government, the Government of Ukraine, and the private sector can further strengthen Ukraine’s export infrastructure, bolstering the country’s economy and bringing much-needed grain to the global market. 

“U.S. investments in Ukraine’s river port infrastructure will help sustain a pillar of Ukraine’s economy and help alleviate the global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine,” said Ambassador Brink.

Ambassador Brink traveled to Izmail and Reni in support of a U.S.-backed initiative to renovate and expand the ports of Reni and Izmail through co-investments between USAID, Kernel, and Nibulon. Through a series of private sector partnerships announced by USAID in March, the U.S. government will contribute $8 million through the USAID Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine), along with $36 million in total from Kernel, Nibulon, and Grain Alliance. Kernel is co-investing with the U.S. government to upgrade the Port of Reni and Nibulon is co-investing with the U.S. government to expand the Port of Izmail. A further partnership with Grain Alliance will enable increased exports through the purchase of a transshipment storage facility.

During the visit to the Port of Reni, Ambassador Brink met with Yurii Kononenko, head of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority in Reni to discuss initiatives aimed at upgrading the port and improving its ability to get Ukrainian grain to market.

During the visit to the Port of Izmail, Ambassador Brink met with Oleksandr Istomin, head of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority in Izmail, and Mykhailo Rizak, Nibulon’s Deputy General Director for Interaction with Public Authorities, to discuss USAID’s joint initiative with Nibulon to expand the port and increase its shipping capacity. 

“USAID supports Ukraine’s farmers and food producers to continue putting food on tables in Ukraine and around the world,” said USAID/Ukraine Mission Director Hope. “USAID has provided inputs like seeds and fertilizers, and facilitated increased access to financing, to nearly one-third of Ukraine’s farmers, and we are partnering with the private sector to help Ukraine export grain to the global market, earning important revenue for Ukraine’s recovery from Russia’s full-scale war.”

About U.S. Government Support for Ukrainian Grain Exports:

The U.S. government supports the extension and expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN and Türkiye-sponsored agreement that facilitates desperately-needed grain exports through the international waters of the Black Sea to millions of people around the world. The initiative is critical for Ukraine to continue providing food supplies that alleviate the global food security crisis and provide Ukraine critical revenue despite Russia using threats to global food supplies as a weapon of war.

Through USAID’s AGRI-Ukraine initiative, launched in July 2022 with a $100 million investment, the U.S. government has reached more than 29 percent of Ukraine’s registered farmers with critical inputs like seeds and fertilizer, agricultural and financial services, and storage. With the support of AGRI-Ukraine, farmers have been able to pack and store 501,500 metric tons of grain. Partnership with the private sector and the international community has been critical to AGRI-Ukraine’s success. 

Thus far, USAID has leveraged more than $70 million in private sector investments to maximize the impact of the initiative. Bayer has committed more than $37 million to increase seed production and donated seeds for more than 25,000 households and farmers, with an additional $27 million announced earlier this month. Grain Alliance, Kernel, and Nibulon, which all have deep ties to Ukraine’s agriculture sector, have increased their investments by more than $36 million to increase Ukraine’s grain shipping capacity by more than 3.35 million metric tons annually. Most recently, the World Bank has joined AGRI-Ukraine through its commitment to provide $132 million to support four Government of Ukraine programs including greenhouse and orchard development grants, low-interest loan subsidies, purchasing land for farmers, and providing support for water user associations.