President Victor Yushchenko on Tuesday met with the leaders of Ukraine’s regions affected by last month’s drought, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kirovograd, Lugansk, Mykolayiv, Odesa, and Kherson, according to the President`s press-office. 

They spoke about the situation in the country’s agricultural sector and discussed ways to help the affected areas.  

“Our response to the drought means finding correct answers about fiscal, price budget and trading policies at central and regional levels and building proper relations with businesspeople,” he said in a speech.

Yushchenko complained Ukraine had no effective means to prevent such natural disasters or at least minimize their impact on the country’s food and forage balance. He said the June 4 resolution by the cabinet of ministers to deal with the effects of the drought and ensure the country has enough grain this year was only the “first reaction” to the problem, adding that his government would soon propose more measures and programs to resolve the issue. 

Yushchenko said it was necessary to make a list of companies and farms that urgently need financial and material aid from the state. The president also talked about how to implement grain market policies properly. “We must protect our grain producers so that they should not feel forced to work on the dumping market because of the new trading policies,” he said.

Yushchenko suggested that the participants of the meeting submit their decisions and proposals to his secretariat and promised to discuss them during a session of the National Security and Defense Council to tackle the drought issue.