The Ukraine Report: Farmers are dealing with another grain crisis

Many European countries neighboring Ukraine want imports banned from the war-stricken country to alleviate pressure on local farmers, but what kind of toll is it taking on Ukrainian farmers?

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

Ukraine is struggling with another grain crisis. Following a ban on Ukrainian grain imports by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, long queues of railcars and trucks stretched for miles on the western border.

The grain corridor’s prospects are unclear either. Russia has renewed the grain agreement for only 60 days, expiring on 18 May. A growing number of Ukrainian companies have therefore started investing in grain processing projects. One of the salvation tools is livestock farming.

“Companies focused exclusively on grain have experienced serious difficulties, I believe. The challenges associated with the war were much easier for us. Supplies were delayed, but livestock farming stabilised everything.”

This is Andriy Baran, the director of Agroprodservice. The company cultivates 109,000 acres, and runs a dairy farm and a bull farm, a pig complex, a meat processing plant, a poultry farm, a feed mill, and a soybean processing plant. 50 percent of the produced grain is processed at the company’s facilities.

We head to the semi-finished products workshop, where workers prepare pelmeni, varenyky and burger patties.

“Each workshop forms part of the added value. That is, if we slaughtered a pig and sold half of the carcass, this is less added value. If we processed it into a finished product, it is more added value. The deeper the processing, the more financially profitable it is.”

Furthermore, Agroprodservice has opened an industrial park where companies from the war-affected regions have relocated. One of them is Delta Food, one of Ukraine’s largest mayonnaise producers. Its main assets are located in Zaporizhzhia, which is regularly shelled by the russian army.

“Our sunflower oil bottling line was in the town of Gulyaypole. We wanted to move the entire plant there. But now this asset is destroyed, and we had to move 25% of our capacity here, to the industrial park.”

Agroprodservice is based in western Ukraine, relatively far from the front line. Andriy Baran is convinced the war is not won without logistical support. That is why the company has found its niche in helping the affected regions with food and supplying the army.

“The war is not won without a well-functioning economy. Taxes must be paid. People need to be supplied with nutrition to meet their physiological needs. A hungry soldier barely equipped with all the essentials is unable to fight and win.”

For that very purpose, agribusiness in all its forms is operating at full capacity for the sake of victory.

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.