Farmers all over the country are finding mines buried in fields. Some are unlucky.
One near Chernibiv a 42 year old was killed when the tractor ran over a mine.
There have been multiple injuries caused by mines, unexploded shells and booby traps, with farmers being the principal victims.
We have reported the UN saying the harvest will be 20% down. Now, others are estimating as much as 30%. This will result in both domestic and export shortages.
The FAO have already reported the biggest jump in global food prices since it was established.
Ukraine farmers are also paying double for fertiliser compared to last year (£800/tonne).
Spring plants were 2-3 weeks delayed.
The Russians stole combine harvesters and shipped them to Russia, only to find that the “smart” machines had locked themselves remotely and were useless.
There are shortages of veterinary medicines. In normal times, Ukraine exports enough grain to feed 400 million people.
Since February, Russia has been blocking Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, thus preventing these routes for export.
There are signs that Russia’s attitude is now causing anger in the Middle East and Africa. There are now strong rumours that a UN-supported naval convoy could enter the Black Sea to break the blockade.
The price of wheat has jumped 74% in Europe, and the UN have declared that 43 million people worldwide are on the brink of famine, and 570,000 face starvation.
The World Bank has committed £9.7 billion to alleviate the effects of food insecurity.
India has blocked grain exports after heatwaves affected crops and to add further misery, Russian forces are stealing huge amounts of grain. Ukraine experienced similar food terrorism in the 1930s, which killed millions of people with the man-made famine. This was caused by Stalin’s collectivisation of agriculture.
Over 400,000 tonnes of grain have reportedly been stolen, about a third of the amount stored before the war.
France has also declared a shortage in expected wheat harvest, due to drought.
It is good that a close look at expanding the rail network out of Ukraine is being undertaken, but from 5th May, again, exports by this route had been curtailed because of a shortage of inspectors at the border.
Up to 10th May, it has been reported that 4 million layers and 700,000 replacement pullets have been culled.
This does not include the indeterminate number stolen by the Russians.
As the end of May approached, serious consideration was being given to the millions of tonnes of grain in store, and the need to get it out and away before the new season’s harvest in a few weeks time.
The UK and other countries are giving thought to forming a warship escort for transport vessels leaving Odessa, after floating mines were cleared, and Turkey had to give permission for warships to enter the Black Sea.
Now, at the end of May, 1,500 tonnes/day of grain is being delivered to Lithuania by rail, via Poland. It is destined to be shipped from the port of Klaipeda to countries around the world that need it.