Ukraine’s topography comprises mostly plains with several rivers, mixed forests and plateaus, but the western and southern regions are mountainous. Ukraine is well known for its “black soil” containing enriched humus that is considered as extremely fertile for agricultural purposes. Soil erosion, however, remains a serious problem. The climate is mostly a temperate continental, with the south having humid, sub-tropical climate. Rainfall is about 1,200 mm (47.2 inches) in the western part, and about 400 mm (15.7 inches) in the southern region.
During early years of its independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine suffered terribly from economic deterioration for years, throwing its people in depressing poverty. The economic situation has now improved to middle-income status based on the rating from the World Bank, mainly due to its very large, heavy industrial base, as well as a booming IT market.
The restructuring of the agricultural sector, started in 2000, led to the dismantling of thousands of large state and collective farms (kolhozes and sovhosez) and re-distribution of agricultural land among farm employees. By 2007, almost 73 percent of the agricultural land (30.3 million hectares) was in private hands, whereas about 27 percent of the agricultural land (11.4 million hectares) remained under the state control. Majority of the new owners of rather small farms (average size 0.54 hectares) who faced the transition from a centralized, planned economy to a liberalized market economy, have been learning to consolidate small farms into profitable enterprises. Major crops include wheat, barley, corn, sunflower, sugar beet, and long-fibered flax. Other crops are potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and grapes. The livestock sub-sector, comprising cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry, once thriving on vast state and collective farms, has been shrinking as an economic activity, which is now favored by only relatively small individual farm owners, but agro-processing industries are popular.
Key Statistics and Indicators
Agricultural land (sq km)
Agricultural land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares)
Arable land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares per person)
Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)
Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)
Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)
Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
Food imports (% of merchandise imports)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)
Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)
Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)
Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)
Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)
Internet users (per 100 people)
Population density (people per sq. km of land area)
Rural population (% of total population)
Agricultural population (% of total population)
Total economically active population
Total economically active population in agriculture
Total economically active population in agriculture (in %
of total economically active population)*
Female economically active population in agriculture (% of
total economically active population in agriculture)
Sources: The World Bank; *United Nations Statistics Division
History of extension and enabling environment
Ukraine has a rich history of extension. The country started taking steps towards establishing an advisory service for agricultural producers as early as 1788, when Pochaivska Laura published the first edition of “Advisor Dictionary” under the title Linkevych. In 1899, a regional economic society called “Agricultural Producer” was established in Lviv with the objective of diffusing agricultural knowledge and the society remained active until 1944. There were 46 agricultural research stations in Eastern Ukraine, where 150 scientists worked to transfer improved agricultural technologies to about 2,060 centers. In 1928, agricultural producers started working through agricultural cooperatives and by 1933, Ukraine had about 132 agronomists, 42 veterinarians and 300 advisors.
During the Soviet Union domination period, a significant number of agricultural research institutes were established in Ukraine. The programs of these institutes were geared to the needs of state and collective farms that were owned and operated by the government. As in other countries, under the Soviet political system, the agricultural experts such as agronomists, veterinarians and engineers, employed on state farms, provided occasional advice to the owners of small family farms. The entire agricultural system followed the model of a top-down, planned economy.
After the independence of Ukraine in 1991, the first National Information and Consulting Center was established in the country under the name E. Hraplyvy. In 1995, European Union-funded TACIS Project, “Assistance to Legal and Administrative Reforms in Ukraine in the Sphere of Migration and Refugees’ Protection” was launched, which also developed the extension and advisory service in the Lviv Region. During the next five years or so, a number of donor countries individually provided financial and/or technical assistance for the development of extension and advisory services through various models in specific regions of Ukraine. For example, USAID was active in Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky, and Cherkasy regions, with projects like “Improving Income of Private Ukrainian Agricultural Producers Through Agricultural Extension Project; Canada in Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Rivnee, and Sumy regions with projects like “Facility for Agriculture Reform and Modernization (FARM) Project”, and Creation of an Information System for Provision of Agricultural Advisory Services through joining several websites; Germany in Poltava Region with projects like “Ukrainian-German Agricultural Extension Project”; Great Britain in Donetsk and Odesa regions; Denmark in the Ternopil Region; and The Netherlands in the Zhytomyr Region. With the exception of Canada that introduced a Canadian style public extension model, most of the donors concentrated on developing private extension advisory services. .
In 2001, an extension education department was established for the first time at the National Agricultural University of Ukraine. A National Association of Agricultural Advisory Services was created in 2003. In 2004, the government passed a law “About Agricultural Advisory Service”. In 2006, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food started a program of certification of field extension workers, subject-matter specialists and extension centers through ten agricultural universities. From 2007 to 2011, extension saw its “state-funding” declining to almost nil.
In 2010, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a Master’s Degree program in extension. In 2011, the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine started offering a Master’s Degree program in “green tourism”. In 2012, the government approved a state model of extension, along with the establishment of a National Extension Center. This model was supposed to involve the government, private sector, and the academic, as well as research and civic society institutions, like NGOs and farmers’ associations in extension and advisory functions. A state agricultural counseling system is also on the drawing board of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.
Main clientele for extension and advisory services in Ukraine have been identified as owners of large agricultural enterprises (average size about 1,800 hectares), private family farms (average size about 70 hectares), household plots (one-half to two hectares), and small farm related or non-farm businesses located in rural areas. However, there is no comprehensive extension advisory system as yet that could address the needs of all these clients in an efficient and effective manner. The sustainability of various extension models introduced by various donors remains to be seen as their projects come to an end. Meanwhile, an interesting picture of pluralistic, but less bottom-up extension advisory service continues to emerge from all the model-based experiences.
Major institutions providing extension/advisory services
Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food MINAGRO (minor information presented in English and detailed information in Ukrainian/Russia)
The Ministry’s mandate comprises several major functions such as policy formulation, but none of them explicitly states the responsibility for the provision of public extension and advisory services. However, various laws presented by the Ministry on agricultural extension services and adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament are of great significance as they determine the course, shape and development of a system of both public and private extension advisory services. Review of literature indicates key laws on agricultural extension and advisory services adopted/passed on November 25, 2003 and June 17, 2004. The laws apparently favor the development of a pluralistic system of extension involving both public and private institutions and service-providers.
Presently, a government Advisory Council, an overseeing body, operates through the National Extension Center of Ukraine, which comprises representatives of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, agricultural research institutions, such as, the Ukraine Academy of Agrarian Sciences, agricultural universities, such as, the National Agricultural University, associations of farmers, and private organizations. The Agricultural Committees formed by the government at oblast and rayon levels are also involved. The National Extension Center works through 25 Regional Extension Centers and 675 Local Extension Centers.
Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences
The Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences (UAAS), located in the capital city of Kiev, is a prestigious, autonomous research institution that also contributes towards the development of extension and advisory services. UAAS comprises a network of 56 scientific research institutes with branches and experimental stations spread across the country. One of the eight departments of UAAS is Regional Extension Service Centers. One of the several main fields of research is the creation of methodological and organizational fundamentals for extension service in agriculture. UAAS, which has about 124,000 employees including about 5,073 researchers, serves on certain policy level government bodies that play key role in determining the shape and activities of extension advisory services in Ukraine.
An important role of agricultural universities in the area of extension advice is emerging. Besides offering academic programs in extension they are involved in providing certification of field extension staff, subject-matter specialists and extension centers. There are a significant number of agricultural universities in the country; two of them are the National Agricultural University of Ukraine, and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences, the latter having a full-fledged Extension Department.
The engagement of the private sector in agricultural extension advisory services in Ukraine takes place in the following four forms:
Private advisory service centers
Most of the private advisory service centers were established in the wake of donor-funded projects. Usually, the centers have a head office in an oblast and sub-offices in rayons. Most of these centers are free lance in character and provide services to both farmers and rural residents.
Investor-based extension advisory services
This type of extension advisory service usually addresses special extension requirements in support of an investment project launched by a private foreign investor. These tasks, sometimes in geographical areas, are specific in line with the project’s objectives and with guaranteed markets for the target agricultural producers to sell their produce.
Private consultants are individuals or groups of consultants who provide specialized technical services to the producers, on a fee basis. Most of these consultants are those who gained practical experience in extension work while working for years on donor-funded projects and, later are becoming unemployed when the projects end. Some of these consultants, understandably, come from the old state farms.
There are a large number of private companies that are involved in a variety of agricultural businesses, such as supply of farm inputs and machinery, marketing of agricultural commodities, agro-processing, agricultural investment, etc. Some of these companies perform extension or extension type activities for the introduction and promotion of their products. Names, areas of operation, size of land operated on, as of 2007, and agricultural specializations of some of these companies are given below as examples:
Mironovsky Khleboprodukt operates in Crimea, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy, Kyiv and Kherson regions; 220,000 hectares; specializes in cereals, oilseeds, and horticulture.
Ukrainian Agrarian Investments, Ltd. operates in Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Poltava, Sumy, Chernihiv, Vinnytsya, Khmelnytsky, Odesa, Mykolaiv and Ternopil regions; 140,000 hectares; specializes in rapeseed, wheat and soybeans.
Astarta-Kyiv, Ltd. operates in Poltava and Vinnytsya regions; 110, 000 hectares; specializes in sugar beet, barley, corn, soybeans and oilseeds.
Nibulon Agricultural Enterprise, Ltd. operates in Mykolaiv, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Poltava, Cherkasy, Vinnytsya and Khmelnytsky regions; 60,000 hectares; specializes in wheat, barley, corn, oilseeds and feed crops.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
According to the year 2000, official statistics indicated that Ukraine had about 25,500 NGOs. Most of these NGOs are interested in undertaking activities related to culture, aiding disabled persons, youth, religion, and women’s empowerment. There is, however, one NGO, described below, that exclusively deals with agricultural advisory services:
National Association of Agricultural Advisory Services of Ukraine
The National Association of Agricultural Advisory Services of Ukraine (NAAASU) was formed in 2003. The purpose of NAAASU is to promote the welfare of rural population, and rural development by enhancing the knowledge and practical skills of rural population and agricultural producers, and protect the social, economic, professional and other common interests of its members. Its members include agricultural advisors and agricultural extension services staff whose activities are governed by the Law of Ukraine “On Agricultural Advisory Services”, in all regions of the country. The Association’s headquarter is in Kiev.
Farmers-based associations, cooperatives and societies
There are many associations of farmers that work for the benefit of their members. How much exactly do they contribute towards meeting extension and advisory needs of their members is not clear. Examples of some associations are given below:
Association of Farmers and Private Landowners of Ukraine (AFLOU)
Ukrainian Salo Farmers Association (USFA)
Private Farmers Association (PFA)
Ukrainian Walnuts Producers and Farmers Association
Association of Mushroom Producers of Ukraine
National Association of Sugar Producers of Ukraine
Ukraine Union of Dairy Enterprises
National Association of Meat Producers (UKRMEAT)
Ukrainian Association of Tobacco Producers (UKRTYUTYUN)
Union of Poultry Farmers of Ukraine
Association of Pig Producers
Seed Association of Ukraine
Ukrainian Rice Producers Association
Ukrainian Association of Potato Producers
The Government of Ukraine recently passed a law for creating more favorable conditions for agricultural service cooperatives. Accordingly, the objective of agricultural cooperatives would not be just to obtain maximum profit but to offer the most efficient services to their members. USAID Agroinvest project has been supporting the formation of a National Forum of Agricultural Cooperatives (NFAC). Danone Ukraine with the international NGO Heifer International and SOCODEVI (Society for the Cooperation for International Development) has been implementing the Ukraine Milk Communities Project and has established a Cooperative Learning and Production Farm. The project aims at creating 20 agricultural cooperatives, each with 60 to 80 smallholders.
The number of agricultural production cooperatives in 2000 in Ukraine was 3,325, which was 25 percent of all corporate farms in the country. During the period 2009 to 2012, the number of agricultural service cooperatives in Ukraine increased from 500 to 774.
List of Extension Providers
The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Ukraine. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.
Training options for extension professionals
Pre-service education in agricultural subjects including extension may be pursued in Ukraine at any of the universities or academies that has a faculty of agriculture. Examples of such academic institutions are:
National Agricultural University of Ukraine, located at Kiev
National University of Life and Environmental Sciences, located at Kiev
Tavria State Agrotechnical University, located at Melitopol
Kherson National Technical University, located at Kherson
Zhytomyr Ivan Franco State University, located at Zhytomyr
Umansky National University of Horticulture, located at Cherkasy
Poltava State Agrarian Academy, located at Poltava
Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences, located at Kiev
Berezhany Agricultural College, located at Berezhany (now affiliated with the National Agricultural University of Ukraine)
The organization of specific need-based in-service training may be arranged at any of the above mentioned academic institutions or other centers such as follows:
Training and Coordination Center for Agricultural Extension Advisory Services, located at Kiev
German Agricultural Training and Information Center in Ukraine (DAZ)
Kharkov Zooveterinary Academy
In-service training in agricultural subject-matter could also be organized at any agricultural research institute in the country. Some of these institutes are:
Institute of Agriculture
Institute of Soil Science and Agro-chemistry
Zakarpatya Institute of Agricultural Production
Institute of Viticulture and Wine-Making
Institute of Plant Protection
Institute of Horticulture
Institute of Cereals
Institute of Oilseed Crops
Institute of Sugar Beets
Institute of Potato
Institute of Fisheries
Institute of Animal Science
Technological Institute of Milk and Meat
Institute of Land Management
Another facility for in-service training may be available at training or extension advisory centers established under donor-funded projects, which are still active.
Info-mediaries and information and communication technology (ict) for agriculture and extension
As compared to most countries in the region under the Soviet domination, Ukraine is way ahead in technology due to inheritance of a strong industrial base. The Ministry of Transport and Communications’ State Agency on Science, Innovations and Information is responsible for the development and implementation of ICT policies. http://www.mintrans.gov.ua/uk/press.html .
A World Bank report indicates substantial improvement made by Ukraine in the ICT sector during the period 2000-2007. The improvements included: increased access to ICT products and services; increased ICT usage; improved telecommunication infrastructure and implementation of new technologies; new computer equipment state authorities; and elaboration of distance learning courses for graduate and post-graduate education. In 2011, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in Ukraine was 122.98. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 30.6.
The Government of Ukraine has passed several laws regarding the ICT sector. Examples are National Program of Informatization; Strategy of Innovation Development of Ukraine for 2010-2020 under the conditions of globalization challenges; The Law of Ukraine on basic principles of information society development in Ukraine for 2007-2015.
Presently, Ukraine has many ICT associations such as Ukrainian Association of Software Developers, IT Ukraine Association, Ukraine Internet Association, and Information Society of Ukraine. The country also has IT companies like Information Software Systems (ISS), Miratech and Levi9 Ukraine. Several universities in Ukraine are making use of ICT in their academic and research programs.
The above mentioned information promises rapid development, expansion and use of ICT in Ukraine in coming years. However, the review of literature finds only one example where ICT has been applied to advisory services and that was under the FARM Responsive Mechanism Project of six-month duration. Under that project, information resources of science, education and advisory services were connected for common use of websites www.uaan.gov.ua, www.agroua.net, and www.dorada.org.ua.
Resources and references
Brandon, G., O. Klyuchyk, O. Kolomiyets, I. Kulchytskyy, O. Perevozchikova, V. Tulchinsky, I. Delioglanis, K. Bougiouklis and C. Papaneophytou. 2010. National ITC Sector and Policy Appraisal Report: Ukraine. SCUBE-ICT Consortium, 2010.
D., S. D.T. and A.K. Lector. 2004. Comments on the Draft Law “On Agricultural Advisory Services Activities”. Document T29. Kiev: Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting in Ukraine, and German Advisory Group on Economic Reform.
D.,S, D.T. and A.K. Lector . 2004. Extension Services Development in Ukraine. Document T26. Kiev: Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting in Ukraine, and German Advisory Group on Economic Reform.
ESI Center Bulgaria/Eastern Europe. 2011. ICT Country Profile: Ukraine 2011; Regional. Competiveness Initiative. Prepared for the United States Agency for International Development
Gardner, B. and Z. Lerman (no date). Agricultural Cooperative Enterprise in the Transition from Socialist Collective Farming. The Center for Agricultural Economic Research, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jaroszewska, J. 2007. Financing and Institutional Set-Up of Agricultural Advisory Services in Europe – Lessons for Ukraine. Policy Paper No. 18. Kiev: Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, and German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue.
Johnson, S. and T. Kalna-Dubinyuk .2002. The role of agricultural extension in transition countries. AIAEE 2002 Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference held at Durban, South Africa, Pp. 151-158.
Kalna-Dubinyuk, T. 2012. Extension System in Ukraine. PowerPoint presentation made in Krakow, Poland.
Kalna-Dubinyuk, T.(no date). The emerging extension education system in Ukraine. Kiev: National Agricultural University of Ukraine (only one page).
Kobzev, A. (no date; probably 2003). Developing Sustainable Agricultural Extension Services: Conceptual Issues and Policy Implications for Ukraine.
Koester, U., C. Schumann and A. Lissitsa. 2010. The Agricultural Knowledge and Information System in Ukraine – Call for Reforms. Kiev: German-Ukrainian Policy Dialogue in Agriculture, Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting.
Kucher, O. 2007. Ukrainian Agriculture and Agri-Environmental Concern. Discussion Paper. University of Bodenkultur Wien, Department for Wirtschafts-und-Sozialwissenschaften.
Lapa, V., A. Lissitsa and A. Tovstopyat (no date). Super-large farms in Ukraine and land market. Ukrainian Agribusiness Club.
Lizunova, A. 2008. Ukrainian Agricultural Policy. Poster paper presented at IAMO Forum 2008
Louisiana State University Agriculture Center (June 2005). Improving Income of Private Ukrainian Agricultural Producers through Agricultural Extension; Project Final Report. Prepared for the United States Agency for International Development.
Nanivska, V. 2001. NGO Development in Ukraine. Kyiv, Ukraine: International Center for Policy Studies.
National Association of Agricultural Advisory Services of Ukraine, National Agrarian University and Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Science. 2006. FARM Response Mechanism Project; Creation of the system of information provision of agricultural advisory services of Ukraine through joint use of websites www.dorada.org.ua and www.agroua.net and website of Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural sciences; Final Report Summary September 01, 2005 – February 28, 2006.
Renaissance Capital. 2008. Ukrainian Agriculture: The Breadbasket of Europe. Sector Report, Equity Research.
Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership. 2010. Facility for Agriculture Reform & Modernization. Final Report; September 2003 – March 31st, 2010. Province of Saskatchewan, Province of Manitoba, Canada.
Stewart, S. (no date). NGO development in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution.
Verma, S., L. Velupillani and B. Brown.2002. Linking agricultural research, education and extension in Ukraine. AIAEE Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference, held at Durban, South Africa (only page 548).
USDA. 2004. Ukraine: Agricultural Review. Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division, Foreign Agricultural Service.
World Bank. 2007. Integrating Environment into Agriculture and Forestry: Progress and Prospects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Volume II; Ukraine Country Review.
Modern Market Information System Boosts Incomes of Ukraine's Small and Medium Sized Growers Video Presentation Paper byAndriy Yarmak, USAID-funded Ukraine Agricultural Marketing Project, Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Linking Producers to Markets in Ukraine: An Integrated Agribusiness Systems Approach: Case Study Presentation Clickhere to view video presentation by Robert Lee, Inna Andryushko, Land O'Lakes, Agricultural Marketing Project, Ukraine