The Diminishing 'Breadbasket of Europe'

With the conflict in Ukraine hitting headlines over the previous few months, it is no surprise that its huge impacts are having significant consequences on the agricultural industry and global food security.

Roughly 42 million hectares of Ukraine’s 60 million hectares of surface area is made up of highly fertile agricultural land that is of very high significance to the global food industry. The input of Ukrainian agricultural products into the industry is vital to establishing and maintaining global food security.

However, due to the recent and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the security of the food and farming industries hang in the balance as the conflict is hampering and interrupting farmers abilities to work the land in accordance with the seasons.

Many farmers have been forced to relocate, so the usual farming activities such as planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and cultivating have been neglected due to the conflict, as well as the fact that many farm laborers have been called up to serve in the military. Similarly, bombing and other destructive activity has damaged agricultural land, destroyed crops, and killed and injured livestock.

Ukraine’s minister of Agrarian policy and food said that “it’s a matter of survival for the whole industry”, showing that the situation is desperate and very precarious.

We can see from this footage of a farm in a village around 20 miles away from Kyiv that the fields are littered with bomb craters. This damage will hamper any efforts to farm the land.

The culmination of so many farms being affected this way clearly explains the large-scale impact on agriculture around the world, especially as the villages in the areas surrounding Kyiv are one of the most agriculturally productive regions of Ukraine.

Ukraine is known as the ‘Breadbasket of Europe’; in 2020, Ukraine was ranked among the top five of the world’s highest grain exporting countries, exporting grain worth $4.61 billion. Similarly, Ukraine produces the highest amount of sunflower oil in the world. This abundant and fertile ‘breadbasket’ is so important because many countries depend on Ukraine's grain exports. Therefore, as the conflict is seriously reducing the stocks in the ‘breadbasket’, the effects are far reaching.

This pie chart shows the scale of the economic damage to Ukraine and its food sector, which has a direct connection to agriculture.

The huge level of damage to farmland and unharvested winter crops means that recovery will be slow, and the future of agriculture in the immediate area and its long-term impacts are uncertain.

Here at Agri-Linc, it feels like we can’t do much from where we are based in England, but we are committed to stocking the right products to ensure that every harvest across the globe, but especially across the UK, is maximized.

Check out our harvest and grain storage website pages here and browse the vast range of products we have on offer!

Sources:

https://www.csis.org/analysis/spotlight-damage-ukraines-farms-amid-russia-ukraine-war

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-14/ukraine-s-farm-industry-has-lost-4-3-billion-from-war-damage#:~:text=Ukraine%20has%20suffered%20%244.3%20billion,the%20Kyiv%20School%20of%20Economics.

 

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