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IFC Study Tour Helps Ukraine’s Fruit Industry Develop Best Practices


In Vinnytsya:
Oksana Varodi
Phone: +38 050 396 9784
E-mail: ovarodi@ifc.org

Tetyana Korinna
Phone: +38 034 252 5450/95
E-mail: tkorinna@ifc.org


Vinnytsya, September 24, 2007 — IFC recently organized a study tour to six European Union countries for key fruit industry stakeholders in Ukraine’s Vinnytsya region.  The objective was to increase the group’s understanding of the industry and new developments in Europe and globally. This will establish a knowledge base in Ukraine of best practices across the region, helping develop the country’s fruit businesses and marketing chains so that they become more competitive.

Representatives from the Vinnytsya regional administration, project partner Agrana Fruit Company, Raiffeisen Bank Aval, and farm managers from IFC pilot companies participated in the tour, which included site visits to production factories and farms. The participants had discussions with European farm managers, where they learned about best practices in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Slovakia. They also learned about advanced apple production, post-harvest handling techniques, marketing strategies, organic production processes, and EuropGAP certification.

Alexander Lyhyy, Head of the Association of Intensive Fruit Growers, said, “The study tour gave us a unique opportunity to learn about the regional experience and modern technologies, as well as to evaluate our own potential. We were also able to establish important contacts with key players from the Vinnytsya region.”

According to IFC’s Oksana Varodi, “The potential for profitability and growth in the Ukrainian fruit sector is significant, yet untapped.  To take advantage of market opportunities and to gain better access to finance, local farm managers need to increase their awareness of global market trends, enhance their business management practices, and modernize their operations.  This could position them, in partnership with government officials, to become catalysts for strengthening the fruit production supply chain across the country.”

The tour is part of an IFC project financed by the Austrian Ministry of Economy and Labor and the Ministry of Finance. The project partners with industry stakeholders to build competitive fruit supply chains in central Ukraine. It helps local farmers improve access to finance, farm management, and efficiencies. It also helps them develop good business practices, making them sustainable in a rapidly growing fruit market.

During the tour, the participants visited the headquarters of the Agrana Fruit Company in Vienna, Austria, where they discussed the market situation and global trends in the apple and apple juice concentrate markets. They also discussed the potential for Ukraine’s fruit industry to compete globally.

“Brainstorming sessions with IFC led to the creation of the integrated supply chain development program in the Vinnytsya region. It was based on partnership with key industry stakeholders like Raiffeisen Group and long-term cooperation with local producers.  The tour made it possible for participants to learn about best practices in Europe and ways to achieve long-term competitiveness and sustainability,” said Franz Ennser, Director of Agrana’s apple juice concentrate department.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About the Austrian Ministry of Finance
The Austrian Ministry of Finance’s external economic program supports the development and transition process in southeast and eastern Europe. The program promotes sustainable investments to support economic growth, create jobs, and improve the business environment. Supporting local and foreign investments helps improve people’s lives and progress toward a stable and prospering region. The goal is to contribute to private sector growth through capacity building, supporting small and medium enterprises, facilitating investments, and building business partnerships between Austrian and local investors.