News From Ukraine: How the war uprooted citizen’s lives and how they’re surviving now

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine as harvest in the country continues. Today, we are learning more about how Ukrainian farm families and ag businesses having to relocate impact their operations.

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

“The business was set up. Everything worked until the war broke out. The war changed everything; it was hard to accept and was even harder to make the decision to move,” said Olena Kyrychenko.

This is Olena from the Donetsk region. They had to escape the war and move to safer regions. In Donetsk, the family was raising cows, and produced sour cream, cheese, and other dairy products.

“We had to choose whether to wait until the last minute or leave with packed suitcases or to save at least something and take our business with us. Only the children matter, so on June 1st, we took them to the Poltava region. Everything was spontaneous. We picked a spot on the map and simply left,” said Kyrychenko.

Olena is one of the many entrepreneurs that have relocated their business from the temporarily-occupied territories. Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers reported that more than 700 Ukrainian companies relocated to safe regions since the start of the full-scale invasion. Many of these companies operate in the agricultural sector; small businesses moved out, like Oksana’s bakery in New York.

Large producers of elevator or irrigation equipment have also relocated. Among them is Variant Irrigation, the largest manufacturer of irrigation equipment, which relocated and is already taking orders. Ukraine’s government and international relocation programs, such as the United States Agency for International Development helped relocate businesses from war-ravished areas.

“We had a herd 18 head. We had two bulls, one pedigree, and 16 dairy cows. Of these, one young bull, six dairy cows, and one young cow arrived. One cow gave birth to a cow yesterday. We named it Peach. It is hard. We lived in the Donetsk region since 1983. We had our own house; everything was built for the cattle. There are 17 of us that came here. The house is in a bad state - we will rebuild, redo something so that can spend the winter there,” said Kyrychenko.

Olena adds that her main priority now is to build a cow shed.

“With the earnings we have now, it is very difficult to do that. Various organizations help us, like USAID, AGRO, and all the Ukrainian community associations. They cover the expenses for moving the cows here - it was unaffordable for us. Now, we are buying materials and building a cow shed,” Kyrychenko said.

This family also helped another family move their business. That is why they took the cows in.

“We helped them because we were in that situation ourselves, and we know how hard it is to lose everything. There are people everywhere. People should help each other We got help from everywhere. Now, we plan to start anew,” said Kyrychenko.

For more information, you can visit their website and all social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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