USAID ERA Fosters Ukrainian Grain Export in 2023 

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
13 February 2024

USAID ERA Fosters Ukrainian Grain Export in 2023 

In 2023, USAID’s Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA) supported Ukrainian agricultural exporters within the USAID framework of Agricultural Resilience Initiative (AGRI). Following Russia’s brutal invasion on Ukraine, ERA provides necessary equipment to Ukrainian companies to enhance their grain export capacities, increase resilience, and work towards recovery.  

USAID ERA purchased 146 various units of equipment for 16 AGRI companies totaling over $12 million. Examples of equipment that ERA provided AGRI companies in 2023 include grain wagons, mega big bags, truck scales, grain samplers, telehandlers, generators, etc. Using USAID’s equipment, AGRI companies were able to export 203,000 tons of grain in 2023.  

What does resilience and recovery look like? AGRI companies tell us!  

In the spring of 2023, AgroKIM company, which belongs to IMK holding, received 7 telehandlers, 3 truck scales, and 3 generators from ERA. This equipment is actively used in AgroKIM’s production facilities in Poltava, Sumy and Chernihiv Oblasts.  

 “These powerful telehandlers helped us to relaunch the grain storage process and speed up the grain unloading process in our additional floor storages which have no mechanical loading/unloading equipment. One telehandler can load up to 1,000 tons of grain on a vehicle per day. It is a significant boost. Previously, we used old soviet machinery”, says Oleksandr Verzhyhovskyi, IMK’s Director of Operations.   

Between September and November 2023, AgroKIM exported 23,178 tons of grain. Of the total, 12,762 tons of grain was moved using equipment provided by USAID ERA, which is 10% of their annual export volume. 

Another AGRI company, NIBULON received 50 grain wagons and 2 mechanical grain samplers. The grain samplers were installed at their Danube subsidiaries and used to test grain quality input control. After installation, they were able to test 320 vehicles and around 7,500 tons of agricultural products per day. The old equipment only allowed them to process around 200 vehicles per day. 

“Rakoraf samplers provided by USAID ERA allowed us to speed up the unloading of grain from vehicles, sampling and transshipment for export”, says Valeriy Reutsoy, Director of Nibulon’s Elevator Department.  

Moreover, NIBULON utilizes their grain wagons to transportation grain between river and marine ports. NIBULON’s fleet consists of 212 grain wagons, 50 of which were provided by USAID ERA. NIBULON saved $1.7 million on equipment rental costs simply by owning their own wagon fleet. Between July and December of 2023, the company increased transportation from 10% to 23%, moving 164,000 tons of grain products.  

Trigon Farming Company, the Ukrainian subsidiary of Agronimo, received 550 mega big bags in 2023. Designed for grain transportation, these mega big bags hold 14 tons of grain. The equipment moved 7,659 tons of grain in October and November 2023, which is 50% of the total amount exported. Trigon Farming Company exported wheat, corn and soybeans to Türkiye, Romania, and Israel. 

 “The cooperation with USAID ERA helped our company increase grain export during the war. At the beginning of last year, we discovered how useful mega big bags can be for loading grain. USAID ERA procured these mega big bags upon our request. We transport 3 tons of grain each month with these mega big bags, and we used to do it with bags and trucks. We use the same mega big bag 2 or 3 times. All of these mega big bags are intact and are stored at our premises”, says Oleksandr Andreiev, Technical Director of Trigon Farming Company.  

Lastly, 3 telehandlers helped Astarta-Kyiv increase the volumes of grain moved from elevators in Poltava and Khmelntyskyi Oblasts for export.  In October and November 2023, using USAID’s equipment, Astarta-Kyiv exported 72,693 tons of grain (wheat, corn, and rapeseed). This is 10% of their total annual export amount.  

All this to say, in 2024, USAID ERA continues helping Ukrainian agricultural companies export grain to global markets.   

We would like to reiterate that the procurement of equipment is carried out within the framework of the Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI) – Ukraine, implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This initiative is aimed at mitigating a global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.  

Read more about the initiative 

USAID Empowers Louis Dreyfus Company with 85 Grain Wagons

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
06 February 2024

USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) purchased 85 grain wagons for Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), one of the largest foreign exporters of Ukrainian grains and oilseeds. ERA delivered the first set of 20 wagons to their elevators.  

LDC expects these wagons will increase grain exports by 111,000 tons per year and enhance their market independence. Additionally, LDC will be able to expand their geographic reach and load grain from previously inaccessible corners of Ukraine.  

LDC’s entire fleet consists of 660 grain wagons. Most of their grain wagons are fully operational, while a few wagons are stranded in Russia-occupied territories. LDC exports grain to countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

The procurement of equipment for agricultural companies is carried out within the framework of the Agricultural Sustainability Initiative in Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine), implemented by the United States Agency for International Development, to mitigate the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine. 

More information about the initiative is available under the link.

USAID ERA enhances the efficiency of grain transportation in Ukraine

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
18 January 2024

USAID, through its Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), delivered sixteen grain trailers to eight agricultural companies in 2023 and two more in 2024. These modern, lightweight trailers will speed up grain collection and unloading and help increase grain handling by approximately 31,400 tons/year.

As an example, a subsidiary of Astarta-Kyiv received two grain trailers which will increase their annual transshipment capacities by 12,000 tons. At the moment, the company uses trucks for transporting grain and oils from elevators. The new trailers procured by USAID ERA will enable Astarta to transport corn, wheat, rapeseed, soybeans and sunflower seeds to sea and river ports more efficiently.

Furthermore, Phoenix Agro, a service provider of the First Ukrainian Agricultural Cooperation in central and western Ukraine, received four grain trailers from ERA. This equipment will enable them to transport grain from local farms to the transshipment terminal in Cherkasy oblast. From there, the grain is then exported through Ukrainian maritime/river ports and railways. Prior to obtaining their own grain trailers, Phoenix Agro was leasing similar trailers from other companies.

“Now, we will be less dependent on other third parties and we will not be subject to the availability of equipment on market. The trailer we received from USAID can be certified for transportation to Europe, so our company can export its products to European countries and deliver them directly to processing plants” says Olha Vakarchuk, Financial Director of one of the benefitting companies. “We expect that one trailer will allow us to increase export capacities by 5-10%”.

We would like to reiterate that the procurement of equipment is carried out within the framework of the Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI) – Ukraine, implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This initiative is aimed at mitigating a global food crisis exacerbated by Russias brutal war against Ukraine

From Crisis to Connectivity: How USAID Enhances Nibulon’s Resilience

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
18 January 2024

In August 2023, USAID, through its Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), delivered 50 modern hopper wagons to Nibulon, Ukraine’s largest agricultural producer and grain export market leader. In over five months, these wagons have moved nearly 30,000 tons of Ukrainian grain from Nibulon’s blocked elevators to Danube seaports, which was then shipped to 25 countries. In total, the wagons made ten trips on different routes and covered 15,000 km.

Nibulon aims to connect local grain producers to global markets through a network of grain storage and handling terminals interlinked by a central logistics system. Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Nibulon built 14 grain elevators on the Southern Buh and Dnipro rivers to revive inland river navigation and shipbuilding. However, in 2022, when Russia occupied Kherson Oblast and constantly shelled Mykolaiv, where Nibulon has its main transshipment terminal, nine grain elevators lost access to water and were cut off from logistics pathways. The remaining five were destroyed or ended up in occupied territory. The new logistics strategy relied on a complicated process: grain had to be trucked to the nearest railway station and then transferred onto wagons destined for export via the Izmail port in Odesa Oblast.

One of these blocked river ports, Zelenodolska, is in the village of Mar’yans’ke, which has a storage capacity of 76,000 tons. Before the war, farmers from the surrounding villages brought about 200,000 tons of grain annually to Mar’yans’ke. Since the beginning of the war, Zelenodolska port could not transport grain by barge, so they used trucks to deliver the harvest to the nearest Nibulon’s grain elevator.

N-I-K Farm in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a family business founded in the early 2000s, was among those who sold their harvest to Nibulon and relied on the operation of Zelenodolska grain elevator. “Since 2010, we had been shipping almost all our grain to Nibulon,” recalls Mykhailo Poroslyy, N-I-K Farm founder. “Of course, we were afraid [when the war started] and felt insecure because the ports were blocked. What will happen to exports? Should we continue planting? If so, what exactly?” he added.

With USAID’s support, Nibulon could continue exporting grain by rebuilding its logistics routes and replacing barges with trucks and rail wagons, saving 350 jobs and eliminating additional expenditure for using Ukrainian Railway wagons.

“With the new wagons from USAID, we created an alternative route and transport grain by rail from the blocked river elevators to the Odesa and Danube ports. We can load up to 70 tons in a railcar, compared to 20 tons in a truck. Transporting grain by road is very expensive, and if we had continued to transport grain by truck, the cost to the company would have been higher. That would have affected the purchase price we offered farmers, or we would have had to close the terminals,” says Mykhailo Rizak, Nibulon’s Director of Government Relations.

With 50 wagons from USAID, Nibulon’s fleet has increased to a total of 212 wagons, an increase of 25%. In the future, the company plans to work with over 3,000 farms, export 200-300 thousand tons of grain per month, and contribute over 7% to Ukraine’s total exports next year.

Background: Assistance to agricultural producers and infrastructure companies is part of the Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI) – Ukraine, implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims to help Ukraine increase its capacity to produce, store, transport, and export grain.

USAID helps ukrainian manufacturers operate during wartime

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
12 January 2024

In 2023, USAID ERA purchased various equipment for agricultural companies to help enhance their grain export capacities. USAID ERA supports Ukrainians businesses two-fold; first by supporting agricultural companies increase their exporting capacity with equipment and secondly by increasing Ukrainian equipment manufacturers’ business opportunities. The procured machinery is manufactured by Ukrainian companies for local agricultural exporters.

In particular, USAID ERA purchased two mobile railcar unloaders (MRU) and two Kovcheg ground transshipment bunkers from Kobzarenko Plant LTD. This mechanical engineering company has production facilities near Sumy, Ukraine, and in Poland. Kobzarenko Plant has 30 years of experience in manufacturing tractor trailers and various other agricultural equipment. Currently, the company produces over 200 different machines and devices.

“Our plant produces modern powerful machinery which is in high demand among agricultural companies”, says Yevheniy Khrystenko, Head of Sales Department of Kobzarenko Plant. He continues, “last year, we sold six machines to USAID ERA. We receive a lot of orders from agricultural exporters. As a manufacturing company we constantly communicate with people in agricultural industry, and we listen to their suggestions. It helps us to improve our products.”

The number of orders for Kobzarenko Plant’s MRUs has risen ten times since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The increase was a result of Russia’s attempts to block the Black Sea transportation routes. The agricultural exporters started using railway routes, ergo MRUs, to transport grain and export them into European countries.

“Before 2021, Kobzarenko Plant was selling  up to ten MRUs each year. When the full-scale invasion began, agricultural exporters could no longer use the Black Sea routes. Many of them shifted to railways. Thus, the demand for these machines went up. The unloading capacity of each MRU is 180 tons per hour, i.e.  three railcars per hour. But in reality, these figures are reduced by two thirds, as the machine needs to be moved and then repositioned at the next railcar. As a result, MRU unloads one railcar per hour.  In 2022, we sold 116 such MRUs” says Yevheniy Khrystenko.

USAID ERA has also procured Kovcheg ground transshipment bunkers for its partners. This machinery allows grain loading from grain trucks directly to hopper cars, because the auger is 5.5 meters long. These machines were popular even before the full-scale invasion, andtheyarein even higher demand now.

“We are very grateful for receiving these orders during wartime. It helps our company to retain personnel and pay salaries. The more orders we get, the more powerful Ukrainian economy becomes”, says Mr. Khrystenko.

Presently, the 700 employees work at the Kobzarenko Plant. 150 workers were drafted to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We would like to reiterate that the procurement of equipment is carried out within the framework of Agricultural Resilience Initiative (AGRIUkraine) implemented by U.S. Agency for International Development in order to mitigate the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine

Read more about the Initiative:…/agriculture-resilience…






Once fruits and vegetables, now grains – Lviv phytolab’s research has changed during the war

AGRI-Ukraine Export Logistics Support
05 January 2024

In 2023, the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (USAID ERA) provided consumables to nine state phytolaboratories to enable them to respond to testing requests in a timely manner, especially those related to grain sample testing. The phytolabs received Petri dishes, test tubes, dispensers, scissors, gloves, gowns, and more. Based on tests conducted, the phytolaboratories issue a conclusion with which an agricultural exporter is able to obtain a grain quality certificate if positive.  

Lviv Phytolaboratory is one of the nine phytolabs which were supported by ERA. By 2022, 70% of samples submitted to the Lviv Phytolaboratory for testing were fruits and vegetables. With the full-scale invasion, the main crops submitted for testing are grains, including wheat, corn, soybeans, rapeseeds, and sunflower seeds. This is due to the fact that the logistical routes for grain exports changed from sea to predominantly land, by road and rail through Ukraine’s western borders. In the past, agro exporters made their testing requests to the southern phytolaboratories in the Odesa and Mykolaiv Oblasts, but the Lviv laboratory is now more in demand regarding these testing requests. 

Lviv Phytolaboratory employs 55 specialists, and receives an average of 100 samples for testing per day. In 2023, the specialists conducted some 80,755 tests, of which 83% were grain samples.  The agro exporters apply to the state phytosanitary inspector requesting phytosanitary procedures be conducted. The inspector takes the samples, which the customer is then required to send to a phytosanitary laboratory for testing.  

The research is carried out through accredited methods using modern equipment. The cost of testing wheat and corn is UAH 416 per sample, while that for soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds is UAH 262. To meet all the demands of the companies for grain sample analysis, we need to buy consumables. The laboratory is in constant need of them, as they are used in large quantities in our daily work. During the war, the purchase of such materials became more difficult due to reduced market supply, higher costs, and it not being prioritized in budget allocations. Therefore, the consumables provided by USAID ERA helped our laboratory specialists to continue their valuable testing work,” said Nadiia Kish, Director of the Lviv Phytolaboratory. 

In October 2023, two laboratory specialists from Lviv Phytolaboratory participated in the training on modern analytical methods organized by USAID ERA and hosted by the Volyn Oblast Phytosanitary Laboratory. The training was attended by 21 specialists from 13 state phytosanitary labs, who improved their professional level, and gained new theoretical knowledge and practical skills in carrying out phytosanitary tests. 

Assistance to agricultural producers and infrastructure companies is part of the Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI) – Ukraine, implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims to help Ukraine increase its capacity to produce, store, transport, and export grain.