The Ukraine Report: The farming industry is seeing optimism due to fundamental changes

Ukraine’s agriculture industry has seen resilience since the start of the war, and they are starting to see some positive signs shine through.

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

Ukrainian agriculture is primarily focused on grain exports. However, during the war, the industry grew in meat and milk production and expanded its farm products processing capacity. The general trend was negative until recently, with cattle stock in the country falling by almost 8 times over the past 30 years. The war deepened the problem.

In the first year of the Russia-Ukraine war, many dairy farms were forced to sell or abandon their livestock in the occupied or frontline territories. Still, many farmers managed to adapt to working in extreme conditions in areas not affected by the war.

So, today, we are witnessing fundamental changes in the structure of Ukrainian agriculture. They are driven by multiple, mostly negative, factors. The war has disrupted logistics routes. Agricultural enterprises and a large number of livestock were destroyed in the areas of hostilities. Some farmland has become unusable. At the same time, the lack of imported products has led to an increase in domestic demand for local meat and milk. And the EU market, which has become accessible to Ukrainian farmers, opens up great prospects for the export of Ukrainian products.

When the full-scale war started, logistics changed completely. We used to export mainly through ports. We lost the African market and almost entirely the Asian market because of the high cost of deliveries. But the European market is now open and it is our main focus. Some of our products go to the American continent. Today we produce 50% of the pre-war output. Some companies focus exclusively on the domestic market. True, there are fewer consumers, many people have left, many are in the occupied territories. But milk and dairy products are still consumed by many. 80% of our production is supplied to the internal market, and the remaining 20% is exported, butter and condensed milk.

Our processors are fully supplied with raw materials. We are lucky that our suppliers are based in the centre of the country, and they were not physically affected by the hostilities. Their farms were not damaged and were never occupied.

Today, livestock companies are determined to grow. We plan to build a 4,000-head cattle farm. We will invest in raw materials and processing. There is a trend in Ukraine today that farms once abandoned the livestock industry are now trying to rebuild it. After all, if the grain grown is fed to livestock, its cost will triple. Andriy Tabalov says anyone who starts a livestock business now will not regret it.

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.