Agriculture is a huge part of Ukraine’s economy. A global breadbasket – with 30% of the world’s richest black soil – the country has perfect conditions to excel in this industry.
Ukraine is also the world’s 6th largest producer of corn in the world, the 3rd largest corn exporter and biggest producer of sunflower oil. But despite having this advantage, the country still has a lot of untapped potential.
Information technology is also a big part of the country’s output, and people are now cottoning on to the idea of combining the two to really show the world what the country is made of. AgTech startups are emerging in Ukraine and hope to disrupt the future of agriculture. There are currently around 70 AgTech startups in Ukraine in different stages of development. And the country’s first innovation park, UNIT.City, is hoping to spur on this soon-to-happen revolution.
Last week, UNIT.City launched a competition – with a $10,000 prize – for startups to come forward with ideas which will disrupt the industry and help “global poverty and hunger”. They hope to gather ideas and start projects that will solve major problems poorer farmers face through with the use of mobile technology. The lucky winners will also receive expertise support and potential pilot launch with a partner. On top of that, UNIT.City have also released a report aimed at helping new startups understand the industry AgTech industry.
The report states that in order for the world to cope with its rising population (more than 9 billion by 2050), agricultural innovations are necessary. While Ukraine is a major player in supplying the world with food – with the country growing 70% of crop varieties traded on the world’s stock exchanges – only 10% of agricultural companies use innovative technology. UNIT.City is hoping to change this. Their AGRITECH UNIT initiative is a platform for cooperation with startups, traditional businesses, agro holdings, corporations and experts.
Max Yakover, the managing partner and CEO of UNIT.City, said: “Ukraine is one of the leaders in agro industry and in IT-outsourcing in the whole Europe. It is quite odd that with such fortunate junction only 10 percent of agriculture companies in our country use modern technologies.
“Ukrainian agricultural products brings $15 billion per year to the economy. Considering the incredible high quality of our humus (black earth) and a huge amount of territories – innovations could help boosting Ukrainian agroexport up to $30-40 billion in just 5 to 10 years.”
They hope – when the 120,000 square-metre park is finished – that people will get together in their unit, exchange ideas and lead the way for a transformation in Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe.