Controversial Ukrainian agroholding MHP is seeking the subsidy from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In order to postpone the decision, an open letter commenting on specific disreputable activities of the conglomerate has been delivered to the bank’s officials by several NGOs. According to them the monopolistic company owned by a billionaire Yuriy Kosiuk was far from fulfilling the bank’s obligatory standards.
The result of this case is yet somewhat unclear. Whereas some Ukrainian media including Ekonomichna Pravda (The Economy Truth) claim the loan to Mironivsky Hliboprodukt (MHP) has been already provided, portal Vlasno disproves that. Also, when asked by Czech NGO Arnika, the EBRD office claimed they will yet debate on allocating the loan of $25 million once again on Wednesday, December 13th.
The subsidy in question is designated for MHP’s project on the greenfield construction of the biogas plant and while the project seems to be solving some of the waste aspects of the poultry production, there are controversies overshadowing that.
Watching the oligarch closely
The letter revealing those discrepancies was prepared in an international partnership of non-governmental organizations watching the MHP activities. Kyiv based Center for Environmental Initiatives Ecoaction together with CEE Bankwatch Network and mentioned NGO Arnika there highlighted the environmental deficiencies in the potential biogas project as well as human rights issues related to local communities.
“EBRD must take a stand and demand its client to comply with the international standards,” proclaims Vladlena Martsynkevych from Bankwatch.
According to Arnika’s expert on Ukrainian issues Vaclav Orcigr the bank’s financing should be conditioned. “The biogas project might be a positive breakthrough convincing the EBRD to reconsider future cooperation with its long-lasting client. Ecoaction has been watching MHP closely for years now and expressed serious concerns regarding the use of substandards in environmental and social impacts assessments and poor stakeholder engagement – facts unknown to EBRD’s officials before. Now, many things might change”.
Violating human rights?
Meanwhile, Community of Zaozerne in Vinnytsia Oblast, where the plant is designed, are facing court trial. They protested against MHP ignoring opinion of major population and not consulting appropriately. Moreover, similar accusations were drawn against other MHP facilities in Cherkasy and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts.
“Considering its reputation, EBRD should really demand many changes in the project – the location, cumulative air quality assessment and meaningful public consultation,” Martsynkevych evaluates the current situation and follows: “However, the potential EBRD’s refusal of supporting Kosiuk’s activities would be surely an amazing breakthrough.”
DOWNLOAD: Zaozerne letter to the EDs (.pdf)
Read more on the topic:
– A growing menace in Ukraine as proposed loan to agribusiness giant adds to conflict
– Life in Vinnytsia is highly affected by massive chicken industry
– The Tkachenko Case: Ukrainian village representative beaten in his own office, suspicion leads to MHP
– The Sukhopara Case: Another critic of Kosiuk’s agroholding attacked and battered, this time in Vinnytsia Oblast
Photo gallery: Tracking the world of an Ukrainian chicken magnate