The Ukraine Report: Processing plant is at the other end of the tunnel despite Russian shelling

Trade deal or not, the ag industry is still struggling in Ukraine.

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

Chernihiv is a city in the far north of Ukraine. The border with Belorussia, Russia’s ally in the invasion of Ukraine, is 60 kilometers away. For eight weeks, Chernihiv was besieged by Russian troops and under constant heavy shelling.

“Most residents fled the city. It was a hard time. There was a period when the local bakery and we delivered products. There was only bread and canned food on store shelves, nothing else. However, considering all the terrible things that were happening, even this was not so bad.”

This is Yuriy Bohdanov, founder of the Zdorovo Factory, a canned meat company. We are standing near the factory’s walls still bearing traces of Russian shelling.

Yuriy says that at the time, the company’s top management and employees were loading trucks and delivering products to supermarkets.

“Under the flashlight, the director put labels on the cans when there was no power. The elevators did not work, and everyone who was at the facility carried boxes of products and loaded them into trucks. For me, these people are heroes”

How is the company surviving now? With millions of refugees fleeing the country and the population becoming poorer, demand for such products has fallen. The company managed to compensate for the losses partly through orders from the army and humanitarian funds. But there are also unexpected surges in demand.

“Today, the market responds to massive strikes and major events at the frontline. For example, the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. Then the demand increased dramatically. This is driven by panic, everyone wants to be as protected as possible in such moments, especially to have food.”

Valentyna returned to the company in May last year. This is how she recalls the first months of the war.

“Memories make my skin crawl. We left for a short time as it was getting unbearable. We wanted the child to not hear explosions for a while and not be frightened by every noise.
Besides, we realized that our soldiers needed to be given space, without the civilians, to make it easier to defend our city.”

Residents are returning to Chernihiv, but the occupiers are not stopping their attacks, and on August 19, Russians fired a missile at the city center, killing 7 people and injuring more than 200. These are the realities in Ukraine today.

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.