25 march 2020

21:55:06 25.03.2020 Back


I.       Baseline information.

1.1    16.03.2020 President Zelenskiy proposed following measures as a response to the crisis:

        Since March 17 - a ban on the work of cultural institutions, shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, fitness centers, etc. Restaurants and cafes will only be able to continue work on food delivery.

        From 12:00 on March 18 - stop of the railway, air and bus intercity and interregional passenger services, the stop of the subway. City transportation can be carried out if the minibus is less than 10 people, and the bus, trolleybus and tram - less than 20 people.

        Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on obtaining financial support to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus.

        Credit vacation program for small and medium-sized businesses.

        Deferral of planned surgery operations in hospitals. The maximum reprofiling of medical facilities for the reception of patients with COVID-19.

        To ban mass meetings (from 10 people), inclusive with church rites and ceremonies.

        Restriction of food exports.

        Guaranteed uninterrupted operation of grocery and hardware stores, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, insurance companies; critical infrastructure enterprises, freight transport.

        The introduction of an emergency regime on March 17 in areas where cases of coronavirus disease have been confirmed (Chernivtsi and Zhytomyr).

1.2    The introduction of an emergency regime on March 17 in all areas where cases of coronavirus disease have been confirmed (including Donetsk oblast).

1.3    Crisis Committee meetings chaired by the President is taking place twice a day. As of now, there are two approaches on response to the crisis: (i) Activating State of Emergency (SoE) regime (full quarantine controlled by police / military – decision of the Parliament is required) or (ii) strengthening measures of existing quarantine regime. According to PM Denys Shmygal (24.03.2020), the Government does not see any need to activate SoE regime, hence will follow the second option.

1.4    As for 24.03.2020 9:00am, majority of the Parliament fractions are against activating SoE, but final decision will be made during the extraordinary session on Thursday, 26.03.2020.

1.5    After consultations with business and expert communities MDETA has changed the approach: restriction of food export will not be enforced. On the contrary, the Government will try to position Ukraine as a Guarantor of global food security and promote the country as a key reliable exporter of agriculture and food products.

1.6    National Security and Defense Council hold a meeting on Saturday 21.03.2020 with the representatives of State-owned and private medical labs on coronavirus diagnostics. It is foreseen, that due to lack of PCR units and professional staff, the Government will recommend using PCR units from veterinary labs and specialized phytosanitary labs (equipment used for GMO tests).

1.7    The Government has changed the approach from identification of critical infrastructure enterprises to identification of the enterprises which activities can be suspended due to quarantine.


II.      Major Government Concerns.

2.1    Foreseen significant corn, sugar beets and rapes quotes decline.  MDETA trade team believes that global downing of bioethanol market due to reduced fuel demand also caused by COVID-19 outbreak, will cause losses to producers of these cultures, thus having negative impact of agriculture sector at large.

2.2    Diversification of global supply chains. MDETA trade unit considers that in post-crisis reality majority of the Governments will implement the policy of diversification of sources of goods, which may cause significant reduction of import of agriculture and food products from Ukraine (on the traditional markets where Ukraine is a dominant supplier). That will require strong export promotion on the other markets, which is currently impossible.

2.3    Sustainability of small-scale and family farms in case of quarantine. MDETA is extremely concerned about possible consequences of implementing quarantine measures in family and small-scale farms with limited quantity of employees, especially involved in animal farming.

2.4    Possible reduction of capacity of veterinary labs and specialized phytosanitary quarantine labs. Although SSFSCP supports an idea of using vet PCR units for testing COVID-19, in case of animal disease outbreak (ASF for ex.) the capacity of the Service to respond will be significantly lower than now. Possible use of equipment located in quarantine phytosanitary labs may cause notifications from importing countries due to improper quality of agriculture products, damaging reputation of Ukraine as a reliable exporter.  As a preventive measure SSFSCP is promoting FAO principle of biosecurity under conditions of COVID-19 outbreak: (http://www.consumer.gov.ua/News/5787/Rozrobleno_printsipi_biozakhistu_pidpriemstv_ta_gospodarstv_v_umovakh_zhorstkogo_karantinu?fbclid=IwAR33dF24rYYPeCkVSlZ0Or6eWbcWj0h4NS0WHdvZXG-NjsXluFykIFrGtmc).


III.     Regional concerns.

3.1    Closure of seed shops (Donetsk oblast, Kirovograd oblast). As the sowing campaign has already started, and in many regions it is necessary to re-saw winter crops due to climate conditions in winter 2019-2020, deficit of seeds due to closure of seed shops and small distributors can have a serious impact on small-scale crop producers.

3.2    Complexity of personnel movements (all round the country). It is very difficult to agricultural producers, especially involved in animal farming, to organize transportation of critical staff to the workplaces according to acting extraordinary sanitary rules. 

3.3    Impossibility of finding alternative key specialists, in case of quarantine (Cherkassy and Ternopyl oblast). Lack of qualified personnel is obvious even in normal conditions, but it may become a critical point for producers, especially involved in animal farming, due to unexpected quarantine of the key specialist (for ex. Veterinarian).

3.4    Possible restriction of transportation of agricultural machinery in case of quarantine (Kherson oblast). This concern is coupled with possible delays in delivery of spare parts for machinery during the agricultural works. None of the regional authorities identified the lack of fuel as an existing problem.

3.5    Possible delays in delivery of pesticides (Kyiv oblast). Although there is no deficit of pesticides in the market (all deliveries to the major distributors in Ukraine has been done before the middle of February), possible restriction of activities of distributors’ warehouses coupled with possible restriction in movements may cause significant delays in deliveries to the farmers’ warehouses or fields. It is also unclear whether agricultural aviation will be allowed to fly for spraying.

3.6    Possible regional outbreaks of COVID-19 due to simultaneous return of the migrants from EU to rural areas (Zakarpatska and Lviv oblast). This specific concern is relevant for the whole country, but for the Western Ukraine it is really critical (example – full quarantine in certain areas of Chernivtsi oblast with zero agricultural activities).

3.7    Huge problems for homestead farming (Kyiv city). Majority of urban population in Ukraine has small plots of land with little houses in the rural areas, known as dachas. Homestead farming in these plots is a significant contribution to food basket (mainly fruits and vegetables) of the low-income urban population, especially pensioners. Regional transportation ban and specific risk of COVID-19 to the elder population makes trips to dachas very complicated, hence putting pensioners in front of horrible dilemma – either to travel and be in risk due to virus or to face real hunger starting from autumn.


Mikhail Malkov,

Deputy FAO Programme Coordinator in Ukraine

PhD student of the Department

of Natural-Technogenic and Environmental Safety