Operating since 1997 in Cherkasy Oblast, a region famous for its vast farm fields and intense grain crop production, Kredyt-Soyuz is one of the largest credit unions in Ukraine, with total assets of $3.5 million. This year, despite Russia’s full-scale war, the credit union still managed to serve their member farmers at pre-war levels thanks to support from Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions.
Agricultural loans issued in 2022 by Kredyt-Soyuz reached over $700,000, accounting for roughly 30% of the credit union's total loan portfolio. And nearly 20% of those agricultural loans, totaling $131,700, were made possible thanks to financing provided by the USAID/Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) $1 million Liquidity Fund.
But Kredyt-Soyuz and its member farmers aren't just benefitting from greater access to financing. When Russia shelled Ukrainian oil plants in spring 2022, diesel fuel almost completely disappeared in the region. Local farmers were trapped; they had already sown the land, but without fuel, further work was not possible. That's when WFCU stepped in to help further.
Tapping its Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund, WFCU launched a $100,000 Fuel Disbursement Program, using that money to purchase 17,500 gallons of diesel fuel in Ukraine. World Council of Credit Unions' Credit for Agriculture Producers' (CAP) Project, funded by USAID, worked to get that fuel into the hands of its partner credit union member farmers, including 45 farmers with agricultural loans at Kredyt-Soyuz, who received coupons good for 6,000 gallons of free fuel.
According to Mr. Dmytro, Kredyt-Soyuz's Director of Development, such assistance was especially important given the huge problem with access to diesel fuel.
"WFCU and the USAID CAP Project got involved in solving this problem in a timely manner, and in the fall made a huge gift to the Ukrainian farmers in general, and the Cherkasy community in particular," said Mr. Dmytro.
The farmers’ reaction was very positive, with many expressing disbelief at the generosity.
“After all, receiving such a gift as free diesel fuel means solving logistical issues, reducing the production costs, and also increasing faith and supporting the domestic producer," concluded Dmytro.