The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has announced the launch of a new US$40M project to tackle grain storage shortages in Ukraine.

Funded by Canada, the initiative will allow storage of an additional 2.4M tonnes of grain between 2022-2023, along with related technical support and equipment, according to the 2 August statement.

The latest project follows the earlier US$17M funding by the Japanese government to cover 1M tonnes of grain storage.

Ukraine is expected to harvest up to 51.1M tonnes of cereal this season, but from a total storage capacity of 75M tonnes, 14% of facilities are damaged or destroyed, 10% are in Russian-occupied territories and around 30% remain filled with 22M tonnes of last year’s harvest, according to the Ukrainian government.

“Given the unprecedented storage challenges this year, innovative solutions are required at scale. For this reason, support to the sector will remain in high demand, likely into 2023,” FAO office of emergencies and resilience director Rein Paulsen said.

“FAO is responding immediately to this situation while taking a longer-term view and looking to invest in durable solutions that build on sectoral capacity, in coordination with the government at national and local levels.”

The Grain Storage Support Strategy – an extension to the FAO Ukraine Rapid Response Plan (RRP) – aims to support the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine to cover 4.07M tonnes, or 25%, of the total estimated national storage deficit of 16M tonnes in 2022/23.

The strategy includes the support for the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection to process and export agricultural products by strengthening government capacity for food commodity testing and certifications for export at border facilities.

“The immediate impact of the strategy will be an expansion and immediate availability of storage capacity at this critical harvest time for Ukrainian producers of grain and oilseeds, while the longer-term impact will be in sustaining global food supplies,” the FAO said.

“Thanks to the funding provided by Global Affairs Canada, FAO will deliver temporary and fixed grain storage solutions including polyethylene grain sleeves, loading and unloading machinery, and longer-term modular storage units, targeting small and medium-sized farms in 15 oblasts [regions],” Pierre Vauthier, head of FAO’s Ukraine office said.

The FAO would also supply up to US$2M of laboratory equipment to support six strategic laboratory facilities in surveillance for animal diseases in accordance with the World Organization for Animal Health’s safe trade rules, he said.

With the additional funds from Canada, FAO has raised US$70.4M of the total of US$180.4M needed for the Rapid Response Plan and Grain Storage Support Strategy.

However, an additional US$110M was needed to support vulnerable households in rural areas, the FAO said.