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.