The Ukraine Report: Farmer rebuilds his destroyed operation with help from fellow farmers

It has been one year since Russia claimed a key Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea and a cargo ship sunk off the Ukrainian port of Odesa after an explosion. Russian farmers are still rebuilding their operations as the war continues to wage in their country. We are checking in with a farmer who was majorly impacted following an explosion.

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

Every depth of agriculture knows how much time, effort, and money farming requires. Every farmer must devote their entire life to an agribusiness to make it successful, to bring profit to the older quality products to customers and a significant contribution to the country’s GDP. What is needed to destroy all this in a matter of seconds? Just six Russian missiles.

On the night of March 9-10th, a Russian military aircraft fired six missiles at an agricultural enterprise located in southern region. Three enemy missiles destroyed Ihor Gurbanov’s farm, killing more than 100 pigs and completely destroying his parts of agricultural machinery. The special commission estimated the damage at $3 million, and yet, despite the catastrophic destruction, Ihor Gurbanov’s farm rises from the ashes like a phoenix.

“Completely. All some tractors, such as MTZ, were destroyed. A fresh New Holland was destroyed, and in fact, absolutely all the equipment was damaged and we had to repair it. There was a head to the workshop where the equipment was located and the machinery were stored. As you can see, all of them are wrecked. There was one direct hit into the building itself and two more nearby. It was totally demolished,” said Ihor Gurbanov.

“How much grain have you lost?” asked journalist Anna Klochko.

“20,000 bushels of sunflower, 16,000 bushels of corn, and 4,600 bushels of barley. We were devastated and almost gave up. But the hardest part was that we did not know what was coming, whether we would be under occupation or not. When we realize that there was no such threat, there was no time to lose - we had to pick up shovels and clear away all the rubble. Everything was covered with rubble, reaching our hats and height. We started barehanded because it was impossible to find shovels in these ruins. Then we used shovels and wheelbarrows.

“Later, my friend lend me this machinery. This is how we slowly cleared the debris. One can do nothing without friends, it is as simple as that. Without their help, I do not even know how we would have survived all this time,” Ihor Gurbanov.

Friends and fellow farmers helped Ihor not to go broke. They supported him by providing machinery, workers, fertilizers, and seeds. Despite the war, he managed to complete the 2022 season.

“Where were the pigs?” asked journalist Anna Klochko.

“They were right in this building. We were lucky they were relatively not many of them,” said Ihor Gurbanov.

“Do you plan to rebuild the pig farm?” asked journalist Anna Klochko.

“Restoring the factory crew as soon as possible is the most important thing for us, where we can work with the equipment. As for the farm, we have already constructed this warehouse where we have set up a processing plant to prepare feed for pigs. We have put further construction on hold for now. We will plant and then we will see. As soon as we sell the crops, we may start rebuilding the warehouses. The farm needs a lot of money, we may need an investor,” said Ihor Gurbanov.

The fact that after such massive destruction, Ihor managed to plant, harvest, and sell the crops should obviously amaze all potential investors.

“All of these events have clearly demonstrated that unity is our strongest advantage. Only by joining forces we can defeat the enemy on the battlefield, rebuild what was destroyed, and achieve results in the field,” said Ihor Gurbanov.

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.