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 (AGRI–Ukraine) 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: https://www.usaid.gov/…/agriculture-resilience…