Remarks by Chargé D’Affaires George Kent on the Release of the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Report on Fruit and Vegetables

August 10, 2017

Добре. Дякую вам.  Дякую, Олександре, за те, що ви запросили нас сюди.
Я думаю, що у нас є українська група і американська група.  Дві мови і, мабуть, два мессиджі.
Я буду трохи говорити українською для наших українців, а потім англійською.
I am going to say a couple of things in Ukrainian, but then shift over to English.

Нам дуже цікаво приїхати сюди.  Я особисто одягнув футболку Корнелла, відомого університету штату Нью-Йорк.  Обоє моїх дідів були професорами. Один з них працював над селекцією фруктів 45 років.  І те, що ви робите тут з ягодами, він робив із яблуками у штаті Нью-Йорк.  Тобто, для мене це у крові. І я дуже задоволений тим, що ми приїхали сюди до вас.  Дякую за цю можливість.  Ми тут також і для того, щоб підтримати можливість для українського сільського господарства – ягоди й овочі це потужний експорт і бізнес для вас, для України.  У вас чудові чорноземи, сонце, і я думаю є можливість стати потужним світовим конкуренто, країною, яка вирощує ягоди і експортує їх. Дякую за нагоду.  Зараз трохи скажу англійською для наших співпрацівників і буде ще звернення від нашого комерційного відділу.

For the Americans who are here, just a couple of words about why we are here, besides the opportunity to enjoy wonderful Ukrainian berries.  Ukraine has wonderful potential in agriculture.  I think everyone probably knows about the grain crops that are grown, wheat and, particularly, sunflowers.  Yesterday, I spent hours and hours driving through sunflower fields in eastern Ukraine.  Ukraine exports the largest amount of sunflower seed oil in the world.  And what we see here is the potential to grow another part of Ukrainian exports.  And that is in berries and fruit.  Ukraine already produces as many potatoes as the U.S. does.  And if they had the yields that are average in Europe, they could actually be the second largest exporter to China in the world.  Ukraine’s potential as a country is roughly equivalent to California which obviously is the center for our fruit and vegetable production.  And the reason besides as consumers, why we are interested in that, is because U.S. technology inputs, whether it’s the equipment used to process, to store fruit after production, cold storage, the initial stage and handling,  is a great business opportunity for U.S. companies, whether it’s the seed stock, the cultivators, or the equipment.

Just as a small family story, I am wearing the T-shirt from the Cornell Orchards.  My grandfather helped to plant these trees and was a New Yorker who spent his whole life working with the fruit industry in New York state, particularly with apples.  He cooperated like this with U.S. varieties to Poland – apples  like Jonathans, Goldens, Macintoshes.  And then those apples, you can buy them in thefarmer’s markets here, that is essentially the result of about 60 years of agricultural cooperation between U.S. and Polish scientists, that then expanded to Ukraine for apples.  And I am sure if you’d asked and found the story of these blueberries – which look just like U.S. blueberries – rather than a sort of European style blueberries – it’s the same thing.  Initially, it was again a U.S.-Polish cooperation.  When I was in the Embassy in Warsaw in the mid-90’s, we had a former Cochran Fellow, a Polish scientist who went to the U.S.  He learned about blueberries in New Jersey.  He brought them back, and every August the Embassy actually had a berry picking opportunity as a result of that U.S.-Polish scientific cooperation.  And 10 years ago, when I was here and asked about this big variety ofblueberries showing up – because they just started about 10 years ago – they said it was because of Polish-Ukrainian cooperation.  So I think that’s a sign – an example of how we are consumers of fruit products, but we as a country can cooperate whether it’s with Poland or with Ukraine, and promote successful U.S. varieties, successful U.S. technologies.  That allows Ukrainian businesses, as 30 years ago it helped Polish businesses, to thrive and to create new markets.  Because before these larger U.S. blueberries showed up in Poland 40 years ago, Europeans had the much smaller traditional blueberries.  So, it’s a win-win opportunity for us as consumers, us as exporters of U.S. agricultural technology, and Ukrainian businessmen and women who can grow those crops using our technology and hopefully be successful.  Дякую вам.