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Urgent Funding of USD 1.5 bn Needed for Demining Agricultural Land in Ukraine

The EBA committee meeting, which focused on agricultural business and agricultural land demining, drew a diverse group of business leaders and politicians, including representatives from Ukraine's Economy, Agriculture, and Defense Ministries, as well as Ukroboronprom.

Shivam Dwivedi
Urgent Funding of USD 1.5 bn Needed for Demining Agricultural Land in Ukraine
Urgent Funding of USD 1.5 bn Needed for Demining Agricultural Land in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has identified 349 potentially polluted locations, half of which are agricultural grounds. Finding hazardous locations is a difficult and costly task.

"In actuality, the contaminated areas may be around 10% of the indicated 174,000 square kilometres, but determining the directly hazardous areas is a time-consuming and expensive operation," according to the Association.

"To expedite the stage of non-technical survey, the Ministry of Economy is already implementing a pilot project in Kyiv Oblast utilizing contemporary drones to survey the areas in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the UNDP programme."

The cost of a non-technical survey per hectare is projected to be UAH 5-7 thousand ($135-190), but due to strong demand and a scarcity of specialists, the cost of demining per hectare may exceed the cost of the property itself."

The business community believes that increasing the number of operators and professionals in the mining action market will help to improve the situation. It takes at least six months to train a mine action operator, including four months (400 hours) of sapper instruction and 2-3 months of company certification.

"The situation is hampered because, at the moment, only two authorities in Ukraine - the Ministry of Defense and the State Emergency Service - give the appropriate certification, and only three centres conduct sapper training," the Association noted.

"The anticipated cost of equipment for a group of ten sappers is $100,000 to $150,000. As many as 40 more mine action operator businesses are now undergoing certification and professional training, they may appear in Ukraine in the near future."

The Ministry of Economics is now coordinating an interdepartmental working group on demining, which has selected a priority plan for 470,000 hectares of possibly contaminated agricultural land. Priority will be given to vegetable crop growing areas, followed by arable and grain crop growing areas, and finally all other agricultural holdings. The World Bank estimates that the urgent cost of demining Ukraine's agricultural land will be around $1.5 billion. According to Ukraine's State Emergency Service, clearing the entire country of hazardous items could take more than ten years.

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