Dietrich Treis, CEO of LLC UIFK-Agro, told LDaily about his view of the situation caused by the coronavirus spread. An experienced agrarian reckons that the agricultural sector will be influenced by the pandemic less than other sectors of the economy. Nonetheless, agribusinesses should provide their field workers with all the necessary protective equipment against the disease.
LDaily: What do you think about the current coronavirus epidemic situation?
D. Treis: The current situation in the world imposes a number of unpredictable events and thus appropriate actions for all spheres of human life. Therefore, if you want to do your thing not getting sick with COVID-19, you should clearly follow these appropriate measures.
LDaily: What measures against the spread of the virus have been taken by UIFK-Agro during quarantine?
D. Treis: From the first days of quarantine introduction in Ukraine, UIFK-Agro started to actively create safe working conditions. First of all:
LDaily: Do you carry out any social activities in the territories where UIFK-Agro is located?
D. Treis: Of course! We create favorable workflow conditions, as well as take care of local communities and our landlords. We provided village councils with disinfectants. Representatives of UIFK-Agro provided shareholders of respectable age (over 70 years) from Voloshynivka and Borshchiv villages with basic product sets and information brochures against COVID-19 infection. Let me note that these measures are operating on a full-time basis during the quarantine period.
LDaily: According to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, the direct impact of the coronavirus on Ukraine’s economy will be insignificant. Do you agree? How can the pandemic affect the activities of agricultural companies?
D. Treis: One word should be added to this statement: ‘partly’ insignificant impact. After all, most industries now work online or are even on vacation… Agriculture is a universal sector of the economy by nature, so we won’t feel a direct negative impact on our activities. Under any conditions, people will always buy products manufactured with raw materials provided by our company.
LDaily: What about other industries?
D. Treis: Unfortunately, other industries will be heavily affected by the pandemic. Developed-country analysts forecast a downturn worse than it was in 2008. Unemployment, reduced solvency, inflation, restrictions on foreign trade and other socio-economic processes and events are causing a recession that requires a full recovery of global and national economies.
LDaily: Prices for the export of cereals and oilseeds in the international market continue to fall. One of the most significant causes is the coronavirus epidemic outbreak. Have you already calculated possible losses?
D. Treis: For today, we have already spotted an increase in prices for the crops you mentioned. There is always a certain percentage of losses included in the financial annual plan. The current situation, of course, leads to an assessment of possible risks, but they will be insignificant.
LDaily: What is the current export situation? What difficulties have you faced?
D. Treis: For the market of 2019-2020, export for most farmers has already been finished. Products and fertilizers have already been shipped and sold. Ukraine’s export should not fall significantly since the share of such agricultural products in the total yield is about 20-25%. So, economic fluctuations should tangentially bypass agriculture. Though export restrictions may play a role — some countries impose limits on certain types of exported products. However, the biggest challenge nowadays is the weather. It does not contribute to the desired harvest at all: too little moisture in the ground… This can be another significant factor that agrarians need to fight even harder than COVID-19.
LDaily: What can you wish our readers?
D. Treis: Take care of yourself and your loved ones! Stay home while we work in the field for you!