Ukraine prepares for sowing campaign during the war
As of end of the 20th day of Russian invasion to Ukraine, more than 2.7 mln. Ukrainians left their homes looking for shelter in the other countries. There is no statistic count yet of those who had to leave their homes in search of shelter inside the country. But farmers cannot leave their land. They stay and continue producing food.
Many usual logistic chains were disrupted by war, and farmers quickly re-arranged for supplying food to those in need in the vicinity. During two last weeks agricultural companies were delivering products for those in need in the areas of war operations, were sharing their diesel with the militaries. Rural communities became very active in collecting humanitarian aid.
Now comes the planting campaign. This year in Ukraine it is expected to start somewhat later, given the long winter. In about a week, it should start in the southern regions. For the rest of Ukraine - after April 10. But not in all regions farmers will be simply able to get into the fields. Most of the fertilizers (80%), seeds (75%) and diesel was purchased and either paid or delivered already. Now logistics of spare parts and seeds is complicated, diesel is needed by the army, so producers and suppliers search for solutions. The sowing campaign of 2022 will be the most difficult in the history of independent Ukraine.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has developed a plan to support the sowing campaign, stated Prime Minister Denys Shmygal in his recent video address. "Currently, the balance shows that Ukraine can ensure its needs with basic foodstuffs in the coming months, but we have to think about the future. Therefore, the government is implementing a plan to support the sowing campaign, which should soon start where possible," he said.
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine has created a platform where they can inform about the readiness of farms for sowing campaign in 2022 and what material and technical means are needed for its implementation.
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a decision by which the state will reimburse interest on loans to cover any expenses related to agricultural activities. Farmers will also be provided with state guarantees for 80% of the amount of loans they have attracted. "This will allow our farmers to get money for sowing and be sure that in case of crop loss, they will not go bankrupt," - said Prime Minister Shmygal. Government plans also to temporarily cancel excise duty and reduce the VAT for diesel fuel.
More and more individual companies and oblast administrations inform about their preparations and intentions for planting. For instance, Dnipropetrovsk, Lutsk regions already started preparation for fertilizing. Lviv oblast plans to increase areas under cereals to 707 thous ha in 2022.
According to the Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine Taras Vysotsky, "Ukraine produces 5 times more than its domestic consumption. As of now, we have enough reserves of products for our consumption. For example, wheat. Ukraine consumes 8 million tons a year. We now have about 6 million tons. And in the summer, we will have a winter harvest. We have a two-year supply of corn. We consume 7 million tons and have 15 million tons. We have sunflower oil for another 5 years. Sugar is a year and a half in reserve" he said. Taras Vysotsky added that even if production stops, we now have everything we need in a large stock, because "we are exporters, and exports have stopped." He stressed that it is now important for manufacturers to continue to work.
To ensure national food security, the Ukrainian government also banned or restricted export of food-critical goods during martial law. This is about wheat, buckwheat, meat, eggs, oil, and sugar. Ukraine also banned export of mineral fertilizers.