Anxiety grows for Ukraine’s grain farmers as harvest begins & More News

 

ZHURIVKA, Ukraine — Oleksandr Chubuk’s warehouse must be empty, awaiting the brand new harvest, together with his provide of winter wheat already shipped overseas. Instead, his storage bins in central Ukraine are piled excessive with grain he can’t ship out due to the battle with Russia.

The inexperienced spikes of wheat are already ripening. Soon, the horizon will seem like the Ukrainian flag, a sea of gold beneath a blue sky. Chubuk expects to reap 500 tons, however for the primary time in his 30 years as a farmer, he’s unsure about what to do with it.

“Hope is the only thing I have now,” he stated.

The battle has trapped about 22 million tons of grain inside Ukraine, in response to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a rising disaster for the nation recognized as the “breadbasket of Europe” for its exports of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.

Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine may export 6 million to 7 million tons of grain per 30 days, however in June it shipped solely 2.2 million tons, in response to the Ukrainian Grain Association. Normally, it sends about 30% of its grain to Europe, 30% to North Africa and 40% to Asia, stated Mykola Horbachov, head of the affiliation.

With Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, the destiny of the upcoming harvest in Ukraine is unsure. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says the battle is endangering meals provides for many growing nations and will worsen starvation for as much as 181 million individuals.

Meanwhile, many farmers in Ukraine may go bankrupt. They are going through probably the most tough state of affairs since gaining independence in 1991, Horbachov stated.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated his nation is working with the U.N., Ukraine, and Russia to discover a resolution, providing secure corridors within the Black Sea for wheat shipments.

For now, Ukraine is attempting less-effective alternate options to export its grain, no less than to Europe. Currently, 30% of exports go by way of three Danube River ports in southwestern Ukraine.

The nation is also attempting to ship grain by way of 12 border crossings with European nations, however vehicles should wait in line for days, and Europe’s infrastructure can’t but take up such a quantity of grain, Horbachov stated.

“It’s impossible to build such infrastructure in one year,” he informed The Associated Press.

Russia’s invasion additionally triggered transportation prices to soar. The value to ship this yr’s harvested barley to the closest Romanian port, Constanta, is now $160 to $180 per ton, up from $40 to $45. And but a farmer promoting barley to a dealer will get lower than $100 per ton.

The losses are piling up, together with the harvest.

“Most of the farmers are running the risk of becoming bankrupt very soon. But they don’t have any other option but to sell their grain cheaper than its cost,” Horbachov stated.

On prime of such challenges, not all farmers can promote their grain.

Before the invasion, Chubuk may promote a ton of wheat from his Kyiv area farm for $270. Now he can’t discover a purchaser even at $135 per ton.

“The whole system backs up,” together with storage choices, stated James Heneghan, senior vp at Gro Intelligence, a worldwide local weather and agriculture information analytics firm. The system was meant to maintain Ukraine’s exports flowing, not retailer them.

Without cash coming in for grain, future harvests are difficult. “Farmers need to purchase fertilizers, seeds, diesel, pay the salary,” Horbachov stated. “Ukrainian farmers can’t print money.”

The nation hasn’t but run out of storage as the harvest begins.

Ukraine has about 65 million to 67 million tons of business grain storage capability, in response to Horbachov, though 20% of that’s in Russian-occupied territories. Farmers themselves can retailer 20 million to 25 million tons, however a few of that can be in occupied areas.

By the top of September, when the harvest of corn and sunflower seeds begins, Ukraine will face a scarcity of storage capability.

The FAO just lately introduced a $17 million mission to assist tackle the storage deficit. Heneghan of Gro Intelligence famous that one non permanent resolution might be offering farmers with silo baggage for storage.

In japanese and southern areas close to the entrance line, farmers proceed to work their fields regardless of the menace to their lives.

“It can be finished in a moment by bombing, or as we see now, the fields are on fire,” stated Yurii Vakulenko within the Dnipropetrovsk area, black smoke seen within the distance.

His staff danger their lives for little return, with storage services now refusing to take their grain, Vakulenko stated.

Ukraine had a record-breaking grain harvest final yr, accumulating 107 million tons. Even extra had been anticipated this yr.

Now, within the best-case situation, farmers will harvest solely 70 million tons of grain this yr, Horbachov estimated.

“Without opening the (Black Sea) ports, I don’t see any solution for Ukrainian farmers to survive,” he said. “And if they don’t survive, we won’t be able to feed African countries.”

———

Francesca Ebel, Valerii Rezik and Oleksandr Stashevskyi in Ukraine and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

 

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