Ukraine assistance program extended

A Canadian program to assist Ukrainian farmers in the transition to a more modern economy has been extended for two years.

The Canada-Ukraine Facility for Agriculture Reform and Modernization (FARM) Program is managed by Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) with partnerships with the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Provincial Governments and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The FARM Program began in March 2003. In a release, STEP said it  has successfully delivered much-needed assistance to farmers and rural people in Ukraine.

The first phase laid the groundwork for this extension phase, establishing 19 agriculture advisory services in four regions and staffed with 50 highly trained Ukrainian specialists. These offices are a hub of information for small farmers and producers offering knowledge and technical best practices on a wide variety of subjects.

STEP says demand for these services has been high, with over 80,000 rural dwellers benefitting from counselling, training and seminars offered by the services since they became fully operational in 2005. In addition over a thousand farms have incorporated advanced systems in crop, livestock, organic and vegetable production into their operations as a result of ongoing support and assistance of FARM’s advisory specialists. Clients also benefit from advice on business management and legal issues provide by staff lawyers and business experts.

To date, over 100 provincial specialists and 24 private consultants have devoted their expertise to the program. This is the fourth such initiative in this market that STEP has managed beginning with a forage seed development project in 1996.

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