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Photo: Bombs destroy an important agricultural sector of Ukraine | News

Novomykolaivka, Ukraine – An unexploded rocket protrudes from the field, and another is planted in the farmland. Workers found a bomb while clearing grass, and there was a hole in the roof of the barn full of shrapnel.

All work has halted on this vast farm in eastern Ukraine, where fields and buildings have been hit by mortars, rockets, rockets and bombs so much that its workers can’t sow seeds. on land full of craters or harvest crops like wheat.

Viktor Lubinets, who is in charge of crop production at the Veres farm, said. Even when the fighting ends, the fields must first be cleared of unexploded ordnance.

Agriculture was an important part of Ukraine’s economy, accounting for about 20 percent of gross national product and 40 percent of export revenue before the war, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The country is often considered the breadbasket of Europe, and millions of people live on an affordable supply of grains and sunflower oil in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, where many was faced with a famine.

But the Russian invasion at the end of February dealt a heavy blow, causing damage to arable land, crops, livestock, machinery and storage facilities, as well as severely hampering shipping and exporting. export.

The FAO estimated in July that preliminary losses to the sector range from $4.3 billion to $6.4 billion – 15% to 22% of the total value of Ukraine’s pre-war agricultural sector, estimated at 29 billion USD.

Veres Farm is a prime example. Its 5,700 hectares (14,085 acres) of land typically grow wheat, barley, corn, and sunflowers, and it has 1,500 livestock.

But its location makes it particularly vulnerable in an artillery war. It lies on an almost direct line between the strategic city of Izium, captured by Russian forces in early April and recaptured by Ukraine in September, and Kramatorsk, the largest city in eastern Donetsk, which remains in hand. Ukraine.

Lubinets says the farm complex has been attacked 15 to 20 times, and he hasn’t counted how many times the fields have been attacked. The grain depot had been shelled, the power generation facility destroyed, and many rockets ricocheted down the barn – empty because the cattle were sold out when the war began. Of the 100 pre-war personnel, most were evacuated and only about 20 remained.

Workers plant wheat, but they don’t have time to harvest. Crops were burned in a bomb attack on July 2.

Some farms in the area are luckier. Nearly 10 kilometers (six miles) southwest of Novomykolaivka, a combine harvester methodically moves up and down a field, cutting dried sunflowers from their stems and dumping their black seeds. into waiting trucks.

War forms a jarring backdrop. The machine is scarred by shrapnel from an exploding rocket and a nearby field is mined. Helicopters glided over sunflowers and corn, and fighters plunged low over the plains.

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