9 листопада 2021, 09:56

Export of subjectivity: why should Ukraine initiate the creation of "agrarian OPEC"?

The important and still relevant problem for Ukraine is the formation of its subjectivity in the international arena. In the long term, just a passive membership in any of the international associations cannot be our goal. As history has proved, this practice is disastrous for our country. At this point, we have the potential to offer ambitious projects. One of them may be "Agrarian OPEC" ― an association of leading exporters of agricultural products. What is the idea of the project and what Ukraine and the world profit from it?

What is our regional mission?

To begin with, we have done a lot to become proactive in the international arena over the past few years. Our uncompromising resistance to Russian aggression has proved very beneficial to Ukraine's image. On the international platforms, we offer an agenda that differs from the conventional diplomatic mainstream. This includes calls for "dialogue" with Russia. We have been proactive in the situation of Belarus and the Navalny poisoning case. And it paid off. For example, we are holding those who understand the threat of Putin's Russia in the PACE. First, it is Georgia and the Baltic countries. Integration within the "Lublin Triangle" (Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine) is becoming more and more practical. In perspective, this could be the beginning of a wider Baltic-Black Sea integration.

We should take responsibility for post-Soviet countries which suffer from tyranny and help to get their freedom and democracy. Now we are cooperating with Georgia. Belarus should still be the focus of attention and special emphasis should be placed on Moldova. Standing against Russia would show a successful democratic model. This should become one of our foreign policy missions. This is important for our national security.

Why soil is our oil?

However, this mission focuses on one specific region of Eastern Europe. We gradually find our strategy of subjectivity in it. And what could be our larger world mission? That could be the "agrarian OPEC".

Food insecurity is becoming one of the main global challenges. According to the UN, more than 820 million people in the world are already starving in 2020. And it looks like this tendency continues to grow because the world's population is growing, especially in developing countries.

At the same time, the land is one of Ukraine's key assets. We are leaders in the export of many types of agricultural products now. For example, we are the world's largest exporter of sunflower oil, and we are the second largest exporter of grain, ahead of only the United States.

Agricultural production is our oil. Ukraine could potentially create added value thanks to agriculture. All it takes is a permanent state policy, the purpose of which should be to involve high technologies in the agricultural sector, to develop storage and export infrastructure (elevators, roads, ports), restore irrigation, and develop processing facilities. That will be a policy that not only significantly increases the volume of agricultural production but also turn the agricultural sector into a locomotive that will lead the entire Ukrainian economy.

What is the idea of "agrarian OPEC"?

By having such a significant resource, we are obliged to turn it into an influence in the international arena. Similar to the association of oil-exporting countries OPEC, Ukraine should initiate the creation of an international association of leading agricultural giants. First, such an organization could solve the world's food problem. This is the development and implementation of a global food policy in which Ukraine will play a key role. Secondly, it could coordinate joint actions on export prices of agricultural products, markets and protect the interests of investors in the agricultural sector. That is, to solve economic issues.

Who could potentially become a member of such an association? This may be of interest to the largest economies such as the United States, China, Canada, India and European countries, as well as those who may also be interested in defending their own agricultural exports, but do not have such significant political and economic resources. It is worth paying attention to Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries that are leaders in agricultural exports in their regions, or certain types of products.

At the same time, we must not be afraid that such Ukraine's initiatives will lead to deterioration or severance of relations with our international partners. It is worth drawing attention to the OPEC itself, where a major player and organizer is Saudi Arabia. However, it does not prevent the remaining of the strategic ally of the United States.

On the contrary, having an extra trump card makes us the ones who are worth getting together. "Agrarian OPEC" will be an opportunity for us to negotiate, being a serious player. And both to stand for ourselves and to solve global problems. Independence is about the ability to defend oneself at all levels.

"Breadbasket of the world"

One of the problems of our international politics is the non-articulation of subjectivity. That is, we already have some influence, we are already acting, and have the potential to increase it. But it is not clear which tools we use and what is our strength.

The key to success is always a clear understanding of own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we have no oil deposits. Our political influence cannot be bought with gas dollars. But we can turn our traditional reputation as the "breadbasket of Europe" into the "breadbasket of the world". And we will strengthen our subjectivity in this way. We should not passively wait to be included in the same EU or NATO and rely only on the support of the West. We should come over and show that we are worth getting together.

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