News From Ukraine: Facility is back in business after a Russian attack

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine amid the ongoing war in the country. Today we are getting an inside look at a sunflower storage and processing facility that is back up and running after a Russian attack.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

This is how the Ivanchukivske grain-receiving enterprise works. Until recently, it was completely destroyed and now it is starting to receive sunflowers. But look right. This is what the Russians left behind.”

This is the enterprise called Izium Khliboproduct in the Kharkiv region. The company manages 18,500 acres of farmland, and operates a grain storage facility, an oil pressing plant, and a solar power plant. For six months, the company’s assets were illegally held by the Russian army.

“This is our oil-crushing unit. All the tanks are cut. “

“This is where the heating plant was. The cleaning unit. The epicenter of the explosions was on that side.”

It is not just property that was destroyed here, but also all agricultural products.

“This is a sunflower warehouse. There were almost 150 thousand bushels of grain here. This is what’s left. The warehouse was almost full. Everything burned. Some of it has been smoldering for months.”

The Russians set up a stronghold here, with military equipment and personnel located on the site.

“From April 8 until September 8, the territory was occupied by Russia. There was a large number of military personnel, more than 50 pieces of military equipment.”

Natalie mentions that, at first, they were allowed to see if the enterprise was intact, but later the Russians banned them from even approaching it as they called it a military facility. And on the very day when the Russians fled, they damaged the elevator.

“The explosions on the premises occurred hours after they left the facility.”

There is another one of the company’s assets, some 20 kilometers away — a base where the machinery was stored before the war broke out. We are moving there. The Russians set up a large military base here, which was known as “the military unit of the Russian federation”.

“As the invaders used to say, this was a military base of the Russian federation. There was a checkpoint, a Russian flag waving above it. No one was allowed here. Helicopters were landing here. Our requests to take our equipment back were rejected.”

The enterprise manager showed what was left of the modern equipment.

“Do you know what this is? This is what is left of the Kuhn spreader. It was purchased in January 2022. It was never used in the field.”

It is unclear why, but the soldiers dug some of the company’s agricultural machinery into the ground.

“There is a KAMaz buried at this hill, and a tractor that was recently dug up behind it.”

There is not much left of the company’s machinery. Some of it was stolen, and some units were shot and dismantled for spare parts. Most of the machinery burned down, Hasan said.

“This is what we managed to put together. Out of 6 MTZ tractors, there are only 2 left. Now we are piecing them together.”

We ask the management what the company is doing next. They say they are already slowly rebuilding their enterprise and it is running. Sunflower does not wait, so what is left of the elevator is already receiving trucks.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.