The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a $40 million project funded by Canada to further address grain storage shortages in Ukraine.

The initiative will provide storage for an additional 2.4 million tonnes of grain between 2022-2023, along with related technical support and equipment.

The funding will be used for temporary and fixed grain storage solutions, including polyethylene grain sleeves, loading machinery, and longer-term modular storage units.

FAO will also procure laboratory equipment for animal disease surveillance.

Ukraine is expected to harvest up to 51.1 million tonnes of cereal this year; it has a total storage capacity of 75 million tonnes.

According to the country’s government, 14% of its facilities are damaged or destroyed, 10% are located in Russian-occupied territories and around 30% remain filled with 22 million tonnes of last year’s harvest awaiting export.

The FAO recently developed a Grain Storage Support Strategy, which is an extension of its Ukraine Rapid Response Plan. It aims to cover almost 4.1 million tonnes or 25% of the total estimated storage deficit in 2022-2023.

This funding follows $17 million pledged by Japan to cover one million tonnes of grain storage.

To date, FAO has raised $70.4 million of the $180.4 million needed to cover the shortfall in Ukrainian grain storage.

An additional $110 million is also needed to support vulnerable households in rural areas.

“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,” Rein Paulsen, director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience, 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.”