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Dam's Destruction Poses 'Much Bigger' Problem for Ukraine Farming, Warns Minister

Ukraine, known globally as a major producer and exporter of grains and oilseeds, is now facing a severe setback in its agricultural sector.

Shivam Dwivedi
Dam's Destruction Poses 'Much Bigger' Problem for Ukraine Farming, Warns Minister  (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Dam's Destruction Poses 'Much Bigger' Problem for Ukraine Farming, Warns Minister (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The devastating destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine has caused significant losses to the country's agriculture sector, far surpassing initial estimates, according to Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky. In a televised statement on Thursday, Solsky emphasized that the damage to the irrigation systems in the region would persist for "years," exacerbating the already dire situation.

The Ministry of Agriculture had previously stated that the dam's collapse would result in the flooding of tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land in southern Ukraine. Furthermore, it warned that the loss of irrigation would potentially transform over 500,000 hectares of farmland into barren "deserts." However, Solsky stressed that the magnitude of the problem extended beyond these projections.

Solsky explained that farmers relied on the profits generated from crops grown on irrigated land to finance the cultivation of non-irrigated areas. Consequently, the cessation of income from irrigated land would have a domino effect, affecting a larger portion of the agricultural landscape. "For every 500,000 hectares of irrigated land, there were up to 1 million hectares of non-irrigated land," Solsky stated. He warned that if farmers were unable to produce due to the absence of irrigation, the consequences would be felt on a scale of 1 to 1.5 million hectares.

The minister emphasized that the problem of irrigation disruption posed a significant long-term challenge for agriculture in the region. The Ministry of Agriculture's data supports this concern, revealing that 94% of irrigation systems in Kherson, 74% in Zaporizhzhia, and 30% in Dnipro regions have been left without water as a result of the dam's destruction.

In addition to the immediate consequences of flooding and loss of irrigation, the ministry has also highlighted the potential loss of several million tonnes of crops. Without a reliable source of water, the cultivation of vegetables becomes impossible. Grain and oilseed production will likely shift to an extensive farming model, resulting in lower yields.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam has unleashed a chain of events that threatens the livelihoods of farmers and the country's position in the international market. Urgent measures are needed to address the critical issues surrounding irrigation and support affected farmers in overcoming the challenges posed by this catastrophe.

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