On a clear and sunny November morning, Ukrainian farmers lined up to collect United Nations-supplied grain husks to store the crops over the winter as the country faces a severe shortage of storage capacity due to Russian shelling.
Kraine said it could be short of up to 15 million tons of regular grain storage capacity this season to store its 60-65 million tons of grain and oilseed crops after a large number of silos were destroyed or damaged during hostilities.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says it has secured over 30,000 bags that will help reduce the inventory deficit by 6 million tonnes. Over 7,500 bags have already been distributed to 356 farms.
Almost 1,500 farms across Ukraine will receive the sleeves. Each of them can store around 200 tons of grain for up to nine months.
The 60-meter (197-foot) long and 2.7-meter (8.9-foot) wide pods are loaded by a machine that slowly stretches the bag across the ground as it fills in grain coming from a separate trailer.
Local grain prices have fallen after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and Ukrainian farmers say they are facing export difficulties and high costs due to power outages after Russian missile and drone attacks on energy plants.
“We’re trying to encourage (farmers) to keep the grain and wait for a better price… It’s important for their economy, they need money,” said FAO Ukraine spokeswoman Viktoria Mykhalchuk.
Volodymyr Tsekhmister, who farms 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres) of land in the Kyiv region, said he was taking 76 sacks to store corn as low market prices forced him to wait.
“At this point we would have sold (our crops) in full in previous years, but today a very high percentage of our production is still unsold… Last year’s crop is still unsold,” he said.
Lyudmylla Martyniuk, director of another farm Kivshovata Agro, which farms 2,300 hectares (5,680 acres) of land in the Kyiv region, echoed those sentiments as she collected 39 sacks to store corn.
“The prices for diesel, gasoline and spare parts have increased, while the prices for our products, wheat and corn, have fallen significantly,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/tillage/ukrainian-farmers-turn-to-un-supplied-grain-sleeves-to-save-their-business-42136131.html Ukrainian farmers are turning to UN-supplied grain husks to save their business