After the war in Ukraine comes to an end – and who knows when that might be? – it will take at least 20 years for the country’s agricultural sector to recover, according to a new report from the Kyiv School of Economics.
Once known as the “breadbasket” of Europe, Ukraine’s farming industry has been severely disrupted following the Russian invasion. Staple crops like maize (corn), oats, rapeseed (canola), and rye are not expected to fully recover to pre-invasion production levels until at least 2050.
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Barley, sunflower, wheat, and other sectors could recover sooner, the report states, but not until at least 2040.
“This means that it may take as long as 20 years for Ukraine to regain its strength in agriculture after the devastation brought by the Russian military assault,” researchers say.
Destruction of Kakhovka dam, which appears to have been an inside job, spells loss of one of Ukraine’s most farming-rich regions
By April of this year, more than 26 percent of Ukraine’s physical assets had been destroyed by the war. This includes upwards of $9 billion worth of the country’s agricultural sector, which Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere rely on for sustenance.
Naval blockades imposed by Russia on the Black Sea are of course taking the blame for all this rather than Ukraine’s collusion with the Pentagon in harboring dozens of bioweapons-producing laboratories, which is what provoked Russia to invade in the first place.
Instead of being sent to their intended destinations, crops instead sat on ships or at port where they rotted. Prior to the invasion, Ukraine had about 33 million hectares (about 82 million acres) dedicated to the cultivation of grains and oilseeds. Last year following the invasion, that figure dropped to 25 million hectares (about 62 million acres).
The latter figure is expected to continue dropping for as long as the conflict is ongoing. Assuming the war ends before the sowing of winter crops this year, the amount of Ukrainian land used for agriculture could be partially restored by 2030 and reach 37 million hectares (about 91.5 million acres) by 2050.
Prior to the war, Ukraine produced about 10 percent of global wheat exports; 15 percent of barley and corn exports; and 50 percent of sunflower oil exports. These figures have since dropped precipitously.
Keep in mind that the report came out prior to the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Southern Ukraine near Kherson, an event that further destroyed Ukrainian agriculture in one of the most farming-intensive regions of the country. The loss of all that water will effectively turn the land into deserts.
“The destruction of the [Kakhovka dam] will lead to the fact that the fields in the south of Ukraine may turn into deserts as early as next year,” said Ukraine’s agricultural ministry earlier this month, warning that the dam’s destruction could cost Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, upwards of 600,000 hectares (about 1.5 million acres) of formerly arable land no longer has access to irrigation.
In 2021 before the war, Ukraine harvested about 106 million tons of grain and oilseed. According to the agriculture ministry, this year’s harvest could be as low as 65 million tons.
The effects of this are already being seen across the globe as about 345 million people have now been forced into a state of “food insecurity,” which is a nice way of saying that they could starve to death.
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The latest news about the war in Ukraine can be found at WWIII.news.
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