DMYTRIVKA, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — One of the last remaining dairy farms in Ukrainian-controlled territory in the eastern Donbass is doing its best to stay in a place where neither workers nor animals are safe. from the disastrous Russian invasion.
Of the approximately 1,300 cattle on the farm, only about 200 are left before Russian troops launched their war against Ukraine on February 24. The 3,200-hectare (8,000-acre) farm, set among rolling hills in the beleaguered Eastern Province of Donetsk, produces two tons of milk. That’s 11 tons a day, compared to 11 tons the day before the war, managers say.
While a significant portion of KramAgroSvit Farm’s income also once came from growing wheat, continuing such work carries risks. On Sunday, when a farmer working in a field was harvesting wheat with a grain cutter, the machine shut down two mines, causing a fire that burned more than 60% of the worker’s body.
The worker survived but is in critical condition as doctors are treating him for the infection.
An inspection by an emergency services team found an additional 19 mines in the farm, revealed Ihor Kruchenko, a livestock technician at the farm. Going out for harvesting now is “very dangerous because of shelling and mines,” he said.
Such realities of war have created a series of complications that when added together have led to a steep decline in trade. In the nearby city of Kramatorsk, the temporary capital of Donetsk province, Russian attacks and a lack of gas for heating and cooking have evacuated most residents, creating low demand for dairy products and, as a result, declining profits. Is.
Businesses were also affected when the Russian army captured several other towns where the farm distributed its milk and those markets disappeared behind the front lines.
Such conditions – along with disrupted demand and supply chains, shelling and the threat of mines – pose risks to the outlook for agriculture in eastern Ukraine, threatening the future of the KramAgroSvit farm, which has been in business since 2003.
“This farm was hit (by a rocket), and 38 cows were killed, along with some of our farm equipment and vehicles. The investors decided that it was too risky to keep so many cows here, so they sold them overseas,” Kryachenko said.
When Halyana Borisenko, another farm worker, has finished milking the cows for the day, she says she pities them for even living in battle.
“The animals are acting differently. They’re just as scared as us.” “They can’t say it out loud.”