Famous for towing captured Russian tanks, Ukrainian farmers step up for war effort Ukraine’s government is calling on its agricultural community to aid in the war effort. April 1st is the unofficial start of the spring planting season. President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging farmers and food producers to increase their efforts, to ensure every last seed is sown and every available piece of land is used to its fullest extent. The Russian invasion has made an enormous part of Ukraine a war zone and off-limits to food production. “If things stand as they are, it’s very likely we will be able to safely use only 30 to 50 percent of arable land,” said Nazar Bobitski, who works at the Ukrainian Business and Trade office. Aside from the actual fighting, Mr. Bobitski said, Russian troops are trying to systematically destroy farms and farm equipment as they push deeper into the country. “One of the very horrific features of this Russian war is, the Russian troops are deliberately targeting and destroying agricultural machinery in Donetsk Oblast, and also near Chernihiv and Sumy,” Mr. Bobitski said. “They really pursue the scorched earth policy as far as [Ukraine’s] agricultural facilities are concerned.” Aside from the dangers farmers face, because of bombings and missile attacks, Ukraine’s government claims Russian forces have dropped landmines from the air over a huge swath of agricultural area, rendering it unsafe. With much of Eastern Ukraine now essentially off-limits, farmers in western regions of the country are being asked to maximize their crops and ensure they are working at full efficiency. Yaroslav Protsaylo, a farmer outside Lviv, who grows wheat, corn and produces eggs, told CBC, “I have a problem with the supply of seeds. Some are stuck because they come from the area where there’s shelling. Some of the seeds could come from the West, such as Poland and Germany, but not all Western companies want to supply [during a war].
So, it’s a question mark [whether we will get the seeds].” Diesel fuel to power his equipment is difficult to get as the military gets priority. Like many other farmers, Mr. Protsaylo has been donating vast quantities of the eggs and dairy products he produces to help feed soldiers and refugees arriving in Lviv. Such humanitarian efforts will inevitably have to slow down as farmers switch their focus to getting the upcoming season’s crops in the ground. “This is not a very sustainable situation because they are quickly running out of liquidity and supplies,” Nazar Bobitski stated. CBC Foreign Correspondent Chris Brown concluded by stating, “We understand that we have a new type of army — it’s a farmers’ army.” Perhaps Ukrainian farmers will even find some use for those captured Russian tanks in their fields.
Excerpt from Chris Brown’s article, CBC Foreign Correspondent, posted March 18th. Please note this article has been modified to fit. To read the full article, go to https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukraine-farmers-1.6387964.