News From Ukraine: Russia is purposely targeting farm ground

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine amid the ongoing war in the country. Today we are hearing from a producer who says Russia is purposely targeting agriculture.

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

Almost every day in the Ukrainian news, there is information about yet another destroyed agricultural enterprise. These situations mostly occur closer to the war zone, but there have been explosions thousands of kilometers away.

This video was made at an enterprise in the Chernihiv region. The farm is engaged in crop production as well as cattle and pig breeding. At the end of March, the Russians destroyed the farm’s cow shed with air strikes and killed all animals.

Founder of Druzhba LLC, Mykola Tereschchenko “The Russian army is purposely erasing Ukrainian agricultural enterprises. It destroyed warehouses, animals, machinery, and elevators. Russians mined our farmland.”

Now, the head of the company is working to document the destruction caused by the Russian army. On November 14th, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the creation of a mechanism to compensate Ukraine for the damages caused by the war, which was launched and still being waged by Russia. That is why recording and documenting losses is an important step for the Ukrainian agriculture sector today.

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Danylo Hetmantsev, “We need to understand what compensations have to be charged from the aggressor. We need to develop a clear legal mechanism in order to prove and to have evidence of the damages in order to prove them on a high level. That’s why we need to document them, it’s very important.”

According to the Kyiv School of Economics, the total amount of direct damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure due to the war reaches $114 billion as of September 5th. With each blow to the infrastructure, this number increases significantly. According to preliminary estimates, the direct damage to the agricultural sector was more than $4 billion. Indirect losses amount to more than $35 billion.

The First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy, Taras Vysotskyi: “Destroyed resources will be valued at their book value. That equipment could still be driven, but it is already necessary to buy new ones. Unfortunately, the multiplier is negative.”

It is still impossible to establish accurate figures for the destruction of the country because about 16 percent of the territories remain occupied. For comparison, this is the area of the state of Pennsylvania. Some of this destruction can be clearly seen on the interactive map developed by USAID. This is a form of evidence and a tool for recording destruction where farmers themselves can enter data about the state of their enterprises. For example, in the Kherson region, 60 percent of agricultural enterprises are damaged or completely destroyed. Everything needs to be restored because it was either in the war zone or is still occupied. But every meter of Ukrainian soil will be freed, and Russia will bear the responsibility and compensate Ukraine for this damage.

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.