Even though there are reports that farmers in Ukraine have planted more 370,000 acres of spring crops, one farmer in Ukraine says the Russian invasion has forced him to move away from his home.
“Our farm unfortunately is under occupation and we don’t have access to our farm,” says Nick Gordiichuk, who is a Ukrainian farmer, Managing director of Agrico Ukraine and Vice-president of the Ukrainian Potato Growers Association.
He is currently staying in the capital of Kyiv. However, his farm is roughly 1,500 acres about 93 miles to the north of the city.
Gordiichuk says those farmers in Ukraine who still have access to their land and equipment are facing many difficult issues.
“One, is access to input supplies, for example, fertilizer. And we know this is not only for Ukrainians but also for other farmers. [The] second problem we have in Ukraine is access to diesel and to gasoline because in most of [the] parts of Ukraine, you don’t see diesel now available because the supply has been spoiled by the war,” says Gordiichuk.
He adds the lack of access to banks and bank accounts have also stopped many Ukrainian farmers from getting to their money or being able to take out loans to replace old equipment.
“Even though our government is trying to arrange various financing schemes for farmers, we all know for small and medium farmers it’s very difficult to get financing from the bank in the situation of a war when most banks are cutting on their risks and they’re not willing to finance small and medium farms.”
Even if farmers in Ukraine are successful this spring in getting crops planted, Gordiichuk says there’s uncertainty in how to manage those crops once they start growing or how to sell their crops once they are harvested since the Russians have control of the ports and are reportedly stealing Ukrainian grain and other food supplies.
The effort now by many Ukrainian farmers is to help feed those who are displaced by the Russian invasion.
“We are trying to supply vegetables, potatoes [and] flour so people can cook and make some bread. So, this one main task for us is to help people survive in cities that are under attack.”
Gordiichuk says of the 10 million Ukrainians driven from their homes, 3 million of them are from the eastern part of the country who now find themselves in the western part to escape.
Many Ukrainian farmers are still determined to do their jobs, in spite of the war, says Gordiichuk.
“I think, just like in America, it’s in our blood. When the sun is shining and the soil is the right temperature, we go [out to the fields] and try to do something. For example, last week, while we could hear shelling in our farm, we were still putting fertilizer on our winter wheat until we saw Russian tanks entering our village, we had to evacuate.”
He also says the will of his people have been an inspiration to him and others to keep fighting.
“We are all inspired by the heroism of our army that is fighting and allowing us to do our farming so we can feed the people during these tough times.”
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on Ukrainian farmer Nick Gordiichuk and how he and other farmers in his country are coping and helping his people during the Russian invasion.