KYIV, Nov 10 (Reuters) – On a cool, sunny November morning, Ukrainian farmers lined up to pick up U.N.-supplied grain sleeves to store crops over the winter as the country s ‘faces a major shortage of storage capacity caused by Russian bombing.
Ukraine has said it may lack up to 15 million tonnes of regular grain storage capacity this season to store its 60-65 million tonnes grain and oilseed crop after a large number of silos were destroyed or damaged during hostilities.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says it has secured more than 30,000 bags that will help ease the storage shortfall by 6 million tons. More than 7,500 bags have already been given to 356 farms.
About 1,500 farms in Ukraine are rolling up their sleeves. Each of them can hold about 200 tons of grain for up to nine months.
The sleeves, which are 60 meters (197 feet) long and 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) wide, are loaded by a machine that slowly pulls the bag across the ground as it pours grain from a trailer separate
Local grain prices have fallen since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, and Ukrainian farmers say they face export difficulties and high costs due to power outages following missile attacks and Russian drones on energy facilities.
“We are trying to encourage (farmers) to keep the grain and wait for a better price… This is important for their economy, they need money,” said FAO spokeswoman in Ukraine, Viktoria Mykhalchuk.
Volodymyr Tsekhmister, who owns 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres) of land in the Kyiv region, said he was gathering 76 bags to store corn as low market prices forced him to wait.
“At this time in previous years, we would have completely sold (our crops), but today a very high percentage of our production is still not sold… Last year’s harvest has not yet been sold,” he said. to say.
Lyudmylla Martyniuk, director of another Kivshovata Agro farm, which has 2,300 hectares (5,680 acres) of land in the Kyiv region, echoed those sentiments as she collected 39 bags of corn to store.
“The prices of diesel, petrol and spare parts have gone up, while the prices of our products, wheat, maize, have gone down significantly,” he said.
Reporting by Max Hunder; edited by Jonathan Oatis
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