Finding the necessary balance between agricultural productivity and resource efficiency is challenging, but it can be achieved by incorporating climate-friendly cleaner production techniques.
Ukraine may have a comparative advantage for primary agricultural production, thanks to its vast arable land and fertile black-earth soils. But its agricultural production and related agribusinesses are often energy- and water-intensive, raising costs and putting stress on the local environment.
Thanks to a loan from IFC’s Clean Production Lending Facility, Ukraine’s Mriya Agroholding is strengthening its operational processes and realizing significant reductions in its energy consumption, water use, and CO2 emissions as a leading local sugar beet grower and sugar producer.
IFC created the $125 million facility to help its client identify and carry out cleaner production investments. Through this initiative, Mriya received a $5 million cleaner production loan in 2011, following a 2010 IFC-financed audit. The loan covers 40 percent of Mriya’s project cost of $12.5 million, and comes with advisory support from IFC’s in-house cleaner production specialists.
Mriya produces about 1.5 million tons of sugar beet per year that are eventually processed into sugar at its affiliated plants. Because sugar production is energy intensive—with energy and water accounting for up to 25 percent of the processing cost—more than 90 percent of the IFC loan is dedicated to water-saving measures aimed at repairing a water treatment station, installing a new press for beet pulp, and adding new press filters at four of the firm’s six sugar refineries. Through these steps, significant savings are being realized at Mriya’s Khorostkiv sugar plant, where efficiency improvements have cut water use by 20 percent.
Improved production efficiency at Mriya’s refineries is increasing capacity utilization by about 8.5 percent, while production costs are being reduced by up to 6.8 percent at the various refineries, generating the equivalent of about $3 million in annual savings. Avoidance of penalties by the local regulator and utilities for high water use and wastewater treatment add to the company’s savings.