According to the principal of the Hungarian Agricultural University, Jozsef Popp, Ukraine could become the world’s “agricultural monster”, if it would develop waterways instead of railroads. How is it achieved and why are waterways so important to Ukraine’s agricultural sector?
Prof. Popp elaborated his statement during the Ukrainian and Hungarian Agricultural Experience conference in Kiev. In his eight years as the agricultural attaché of Hungary in the United States, he said, he had concluded that the United States had managed to become the world leader in the agricultural development because of well-developed river navigation.
“From the Canadian border, grain suppliers ship their goods down the rivers to New Orleans, covering the distance of 3 thousand kilometers, spending only $5 per ton for the delivery of grain to the port, which is incredibly cheap compared to any other means of transportation” – he said.
According to Jozsef Popp, implementing a similar project in Europe would be impossible because Danube, Europe’s main waterway, is unsuitable for year-round navigation, and lacks locks on the territory of many countries. Also, the idea of such project was opposed by environmentalists.
Ukraine, however, could navigate its way from Kiev down the Dnieper River to the sea, said the expert.
“Today, no cargo ship can pass from the headwaters of Dnieper to the Black Sea”.
“THE NUMBER ONE TASK FOR THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT IS TO DEVELOP SUCH WATERWAYS AND MAKE THEM AVAILABLE FOR FARMERS WHO WILL PAY FOR THEIR USE AND MAINTENANCE”
“Some 100-200 km away from these waterways, they should have wheat collection points. If this is done, Ukraine will become the largest European seller of grain, achieving greater success in agriculture than any country in the EU”, – said Mr. Popp.
The expert also emphasized that the use of waterways is another huge advantage of Ukraine as an agrarian country, in addition to its fertile land.