The Ukraine Report: Farmer’s equipment is still trapped on occupied land

Before the Russian invasion, Ukrainian farmers had put a lot into their operations, as all farmers do, but many operations have been overtaken through the conflict.

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

The farm Adelaida worked in Kherson region for more than 30 years. In 2006, the farm registered a branch in Zhytomyr region.

Today, it only operates in Zhytomyr region, as the land in Kherson region has been occupied since the first days of russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are from Kherson region, from the left bank. Unfortunately, the territory is now occupied. We are waiting for its de-occupation. We are doing everything within our power to make it happen. There are around 7,500 acres of land left there. Of these, 5,000 acres were irrigated. We invested much in development and built storage facilities for potatoes. Unfortunately, now we have lost control over the enterprise.”

Today, Adelaida cultivates 6,900 acres, and in 2023 it grew wheat, rapeseed, and buckwheat. The farm’s primary crop is potatoes.

“We are registered as a seed farm. We have a vast area of seed potatoes. We also grow potatoes for crisps. It covers 60% of the planted area. We also have commercial potatoes.”

All the equipment of Adelaida remains in the occupied part of Kherson region. So in 2022, Serhiy Rybalko had to buy new units whenever possible.

“We have a potato planter. We bought two used potato harvesters. We also have two heavy Case and Fendt tractors. The mid-capacity tractors we use here are Ukrainian-made MTZ.”

In potato fields in Zhytomyr region, the first irrigation system was installed. UAH 10 million was invested in it and it created 15 jobs.

“The war forces us to produce more from one hectare. Last year, we introduced an irrigation system on 123 acres and got an additional 4.5 bushels per acre. This year, already 494 acres are irrigated. This has a positive effect.”

The farmer is confident that with irrigation, potatoes will definitely be profitable. Next year, Serhiy Rybalko plans to expand irrigation to another 370 acres.

Serhiy Rybalko is one of those people who never give up and keep working, learning and developing.

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.