“We Will Help as Much as We Can, Because Everyone Has Their Own Front:” A Ukrainian Farmer’s Story

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Ihor received high-quality corn seeds from USAID, which allows Ihor to provide his livestock with fodder during wartime.

“We had a hard time this spring, everything was in doubt,” recalls farmer Ihor Khabatiuk as he thinks about how Russia’s war against Ukraine put his farm, and country, in jeopardy. Ihor, one of more than 12,000 farmers across Ukraine to receive emergency assistance from USAID during the war, raises livestock on a farm that he and his father started in Rivne Oblast in 2018. At first, the farm had only five cows and 20 hectares of land. Today, the farm (called Rodyna-Plus) is significantly larger: 80 head of livestock, including 37 dairy cows, and 100 hectares of land. Ihor mainly sows alfalfa, corn, barley, wheat, rye, rapeseed, soy, and rye hay. The farm employs five people and pays its taxes. “We don’t work in the ‘shadows;’ everything is done officially,” Ihor proudly states.

Ihor’s business and community have been profoundly affected by the war. “It’s difficult, but I want to keep people employed and the farm running. It is hard when a liter of milk and a liter of water cost the same. I didn’t know if we would be able to buy the necessary amount of seeds for sowing this year.” 

That problem was solved when Ihor received high-quality corn seeds from USAID, which will allow Ihor to provide his livestock with fodder during wartime. Ihor used the seeds to sow 20 hectares of corn for livestock feed. With favorable conditions, Ihor will produce 300-400 tons of silage, enough to feed all his livestock throughout the year. “I am very grateful for the corn, it grew well, even though we sowed it a little later than usual. Now we work only from passion, and we are economizing as much as we can in order to keep the staff,” Ihor says. “I advise farmers to just hang on, maintain what we have now, and don’t expect big profits. The main task for today is to win the war.”

Since the start of the war, USAID has provided corn and buckwheat seeds to 378 farms as part of its wide-ranging support to more than 12,000 Ukrainian agriculture enterprises. This assistance covers seeds, equipment, financing, and drone services. The farms receiving corn and buckwheat seeds are projected to produce 10,000 tons of corn, 750 tons of buckwheat, and 12,500 tons of silage. That is enough to feed more than 100,000 people for a whole year and to produce enough silage for 2,500 cattle.

Reflecting on his feelings during the war, Ihor says, “The worst thing is shelling. I watch what is happening in the regions where there is active fighting, and I understand why many people don’t care about sowing right now. Our corn is good - so, we will work for them, as well. We will help as much as we can because everyone has their own front.”

Last updated: September 12, 2022

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