The focus right now is on the people, says Ukraine-focused seed company

(Brian Woychuk/ BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Several Canadian companies have been impacted by what has happened thus far between Ukraine and Russia, and the aggression by Russia.

North American Plant Genetics (NAPG) is one of those companies — based in Canada, with international partners — and their focus being entirely on Ukraine. The company sources genetics from breeders in Canada and the U.S., and sells seed in Ukraine.

Claire Cowan, chief executive officer of NAPG, says the focus right now is very much on the people over there, with the business being on hold. (Story continues below video.)

When it comes to looking at whether there will even be a crop seeded in Ukraine, Cowan says there are currently no good answers.

“I’m sure they’re thinking about planting and planning, but that’s not the current emergent focus,” she says. “Ukraine is a highly progressive country when it comes to agriculture. They’re highly mechanized, they rely on the same inputs that Canadian farmers rely on. I know that they were seeing massive increases in costs, just like farmers were here, but a little bit more extreme. Before this all started, there was lots of concerns about supply issues for chemistry, similar to what we’re seeing here in Canada, but a bit more.”

When it comes to disruptions in Ukraine, although there are some areas that are more heavily into agriculture than others, it is the countries number one industry. As Cowan explains, it’ll be impacted no matter what.

“Looking anywhere, it’s really going to disrupt any sort of agriculture production that happens in whatever region it happens,” she notes. “This week is surreal regardless of where you are and what you are doing. It’s just unlike anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime, certainly, and not a lot of people have seen in their lifetime. It’s hard to comprehend.”

Editor’s note: this interview was completed on March 1, 2022.

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