Back in October during the World Food Prize there was a delegation from Ukraine and we spent some time getting to know more about the US-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). So our thoughts have been with them as the news has been tuned to the unrest happening there.
Our friend Michael Datsenko with the USUBC put me in touch with his president and CEO Morgan Williams, who is currently in Kyiv, to get an update on the situation there and how it is impacting agriculture.
Williams told me that as the former Prime Minister has fled the country and sought refuge in Russia, a new parliament, new Prime Minister and new Ag Minister, Ihor Shvaika, are all in place and beginning to rebuild their infrastructure. Williams has already met Shvaika and will be meeting with him again later this week, along with some of the USUBC agribusiness member representatives.
In our conversation, Williams did debunk some rumors, such as explosives embedded in corn or wheat fields and that farmers aren’t holding onto their corn to hedge against the financial ruin the country currently finds itself in. In fact, he says that in Kyiv things are fairly normal while the upheaval is really happening in the area of Crimea. He does say that farmers are facing some issues getting operating capital with spring planting at hand, and that shipping could also be impacted by the unsettled financial situation.
Listen to our conversation here: Interview with Morgan Williams, U-S Ukraine Business Council