Farming Under Fire

Farming Under Fire: 'it's not a matter of earning money, it's a matter of survival'

Farming has always been tough.  Certainly in New Zealand, the prevailing sentiment is things are as tight as they've been for a good while.  Recent weather events, proposed and existing regulations, prohibitive input costs, and a myriad of other factors are all seeing to that. 

And while all of this is troubling for the sector, there are parts of the world where farming survival has more to do with bombs rather than banks.

Ukraine is one of the world's top producers of grain, wheat and barley; but for many farmers in the war-torn nation, landmines, occupied territories, and thwarted transportation lines are the primary concerns at the moment. 

A recent report from Reuters told the story of a Ukrainian farmer who's come up with a novel idea to clear mines from his fields; he's fitted his tractor with protective panels stripped from damaged Russian tanks, operating the makeshift vehicle by remote control to detonate landmines. 

It's proving successful - no lives have been lost and the tractor has survived an encounter with an anti-tank mine.  There are still many miles of land to traverse, but the crops need to be sowed.  

The invasion has meant many farmers have been displaced from their land, releasing their farm animals into the wild.  Others can't offload their produce due to the blocking of ports.  And then there are those who are literally running the gauntlet on a daily basis.

Estimates suggest it'll take more than a decade to get many farming operations back up and running, while the losses in the sector could reach somewhere in the region of $9 billion.  But as the head of the Ukranian Agri Council remarked recently to, "it's not a matter of earning money, it's a matter of survival".

"It’s not a matter of earning money, it’s a matter of survival."

Quite literally.