The Ukraine Report: Operation plans to grow next year and win the fight

Despite the war, Ukrainians are still farming.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage and tell us about an operation that plans to grow next year and win the fight.

Cherkasy region. The Kishchenzi enterprise has more than 37,000 acres of land under cultivation. It was founded by Dutchman Kees Huizinga more than 20 years ago. At the time, the fields were covered with waist-high weeds, but Kees knew he would succeed.

Today, the company grows not only grain crops but also vegetables. They also have cattle and pigs.

“20 years ago, half of Ukraine was covered with weeds, and we saw great chances and good opportunities. We decided to start farming here. At the time, it was very cheap — wages were 1 UAH/hour, and rent was $15/ha. But the weeds were really tall. We invested a lot of money to level the land and start sowing. But the chances were strong and they paid off.”

We started with 19,000 acres and even sowed beets in the first year. And now we have over 15 thousand hectares, more than 2000 dairy cows, 600 sows, and 400 hectares of vegetables.

“In the first year of full-scale war, we planted fewer beets because I was worried about gas and coal supply. But we shouldn’t have sown less. In 2023, we planted the normal amount. And in 2024, we will sow again as we did before - 3.7 thousand acres of sugar beet. In general, we are now sowing a little less grain and a little more oilseeds.”

But despite all the difficulties, Kees Huizinga says he has no right to complain about his life and supports the Ukrainian Armed Forces with all his might. He foresees Ukraine’s victory. “I support our guys who are defending us and driving out the Russians. The more we support them, the more money we allocate, the more drones and other equipment we have, the better our soldiers can fight, the faster we will have free passage by sea for Ukrainian grain. Because we cannot negotiate with the Russians. The only way is to drive them away and win this war.”

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.