German retail and Ukrainian farmers secure European non-GM market of the future

19 May, 2022

Increasing volumes of sustainable soya in Ukraine despite war

Frankfurt, Kyiv – The war against Ukraine has made the agricultural markets nervous. While the export situation for commodities following the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports looks rather bad, the situation for soya is completely different. As part of the event “Sustainable Soya Sourcing in the light of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine”, Donau Soja will present “Protein Partnerships”, a program to increase sustainable soya cultivation in Europe. “Since 2021, also Ukraine has been part of this special partnership between German retailers and Ukrainian farmers,” says Susanne Fromwald, Donau Soja’s Senior Advisor and International Project Manager for Protein Partnerships. 

“The war against Ukraine and the blockade of the Black Sea ports challenges agriculture as a whole. We are permanently working on improving export logistics by railways, trucks and barges. For soybeans, the situation looks much better than for other agricultural commodities”, says Vitaly Kushnir, Advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture. “For 2022, we expect Ukraine to harvest only 60 to 70 percent of normal volumes. Of the predicted 1.2 million hectares of Ukrainian soybean area, almost one million hectares have already been cultivated,” Kushnir reports. According to the Ukrainian Agricultural Ministry around 115,000 tonnes of soybeans were exported from Ukraine between March 1 and May 9 2022, plus nearly 1 million tonnes of corn. 

EU-wide, 2022 is likely to go down in history as a record soybean year. Cultivation is forecasted to increase by 10-15%, these additional volumes can compensate for potential shortfalls in Ukraine (and Russia).  

Key players of the German agricultural scene have been trying for weeks now to evoke a collapse of the non-GM market. “In doing so, they harm soya-farmers in Germany, Ukraine and Europe, who need markets for their products in which non-GM, regionality and sustainability are in demand, and who compensate for the additional costs of sustainable production in Europe”, says Donau Soja chairman Matthias Krön.  

“Sustainable Soya Sourcing in the light of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine”

During the Donau Soja event in Frankfurt, Lidl Stiftung and Rewe Group will present their strategies for sustainable soya sourcing, their efforts to reduce the negative soya footprint and to support the production and use of sustainable, deforestation-free non-GM soya in Europe for Europe.  Donau Soja’s Protein Partnership programme supports among others farmers in their conversion to sustainable soya cultivation, finances trainings and covers the certification costs of farms and storage facilities.  

“Lidl takes its corporate due diligence very seriously. We are proud to have been a member of Donau Soja since the very beginning. This is now one of the largest protein partnerships, with which we specifically support European producers in sustainable soy cultivation. We are already offering the first products in our assortment with segregated flows of goods. This is an important step for continuing promotion of deforestation-free and GMO-free soy in Europe in the long term.”
(Dr. Alexander David, Director of CSR Purchasing International, Lidl) 

“As a founding member of the Donau Soja Association, REWE Group has been supporting the cultivation of European, certified GMO-free soy since 2015. Together, we are committed to regional added-value in the European Donau area and an independent, ecologically sustainable protein supply. As part of our ambitious climate goals, the development of a deforestation-free supply chain for all REWE Group private label products of animal origin plays an essential role.”
(Dirk Heim, Senior Director Sustainability, REWE Group)

The Protein Partnerships Programme has been running in Serbia and Croatia since 2019, in Ukraine since 2021. Due to the war and an increased orientation towards the EU, a significantly greater interest in Protein Partnerships is emerging right now in Ukraine.  

Find out more:
Statements Availability of Non-GMO Soy:
You can find the event programme here:

About donau soja

Donau Soja is a non-profit, independent association who supports its partners and members in progressing change to address social, environmental, and economic challenges in soya, legumes and protein production and consumption. This will increase efficiency, fairness and sustainability in European food and feed protein value chains. Donau Soja is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).