KIEV (B)--The Ukrainian government said May 18 it does not after all intend to ask the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for food aid this year. During an official visit to the U.S. two weeks ago, Ukraine asked for a 25-year loan to purchase U.S. commodities--500,000 tonnes of maize and 200,000 of soybeans. However, a meeting scheduled to discuss the possible aid package in Washington between U.S. and Ukrainian officials has been canceled.
Ukrainian Agriculture Policy Minister Ivan Kyrylenko said earlier this month the situation with feed grain for cattle breeding had improved and that Ukraine would possibly ask the USDA for aid next year.
USDA General Sales Manager Richard Fritz said it was now a little late in the year for Ukraine to apply for any U.S. food aid for the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.
Kyrylenko said: "The U.S. budget is drafted formed in the autumn, so talks on any aid would possibly start only next year," he said. "The period from February to April was very difficult, but we survived. Now things are easier thanks to the availability of grass."
While Ukraine is a significant exporter of both wheat and flour, it has had a small harvest and the country is short of animal feed. (5.4103 hryvna--U.S. $1)