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Anxiety grows for Ukraine's cereal farmers while harvest begins

Anxiety grows for Ukraine's cereal farmers while harvest begins

ZHURIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Oleksandr Chubuk's warehouse should exist empty, awaiting the new harvest, accompanied by his inside attendance accompanied by of winter wheat by that hour dated shipped abroad. Instead, his storage bins inside centre Ukraine are piled high accompanied by cereal he cannot ship not here since of the war accompanied by Russia.

The greenish spikes of wheat are by that hour dated ripening. Soon, the horizon will look exist fond of the Ukrainian flag, a ocean of gold medal medal beneath a blue sky. Chubuk expects to reap 500 tons, nevertheless for the earliest hour dated inside his 30 years while a farmer, he's uncertain concerning what to do accompanied by it.

"Hope is the only thing I have now," he said.

The war has trapped concerning 22 million tons of cereal inside Ukraine, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a growing crisis for the country known while the "breadbasket of Europe" for its exports of wheat, corn accompanied by every one one other accompanied by sunflower oil.

Before Russia's invasion, Ukraine could sell overseas 6 million to 7 million tons of cereal per month, nevertheless inside June it shipped only 2.2 million tons, according to the Ukrainian Grain Association. Normally, it sends concerning 30% of its cereal to Europe, 30% to North Africa accompanied by every one one other accompanied by 40% to Asia, said Mykola Horbachov, head of the association.

With Russia's blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports, the fate of the upcoming harvest inside Ukraine is inside doubt. The U.N. Food accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Agriculture Organization says the war is endangering food supplies for numerous developing nations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by could worsen hunger for up to 181 million people.

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Meanwhile, numerous farmers inside Ukraine could go bankrupt. They are facing the most difficult circumstances since gaining self-government inside 1991, Horbachov said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country is employed accompanied by the U.N., Ukraine, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Russia to find a solution, offering protected from danger corridors inside the Black Sea for wheat shipments.

For now, Ukraine is trying less-effective alternatives to sell overseas its grain, at least to Europe. Currently, 30% of exports go via trio Danube River ports inside southwestern Ukraine.

The country excessively is trying to ship cereal via 12 border crossings accompanied by European countries, nevertheless trucks must carry on accompanied by to exist inside dash for days, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Europe's infrastructure cannot yet absorb such a volume of grain, Horbachov said.

"It's impossible to build such infrastructure inside one year," he told The Associated Press.

Russia's invasion excessively caused transportation costs to soar. The cost to deliver this year's harvested barley to the closest Romanian port, Constanta, is now $160 to $180 per ton, up from $40 to $45. And yet a farmer selling barley to a trader gets less than $100 per ton.

The losses are piling up, down accompanied by the harvest.

"Most of the farmers are running the chance of becoming bankrupt extremely soon. But they don't have some other option nevertheless to sell their cereal cheaper than its cost," Horbachov said.

On top of such challenges, not all farmers tin sell their grain.

Before the invasion, Chubuk could sell a ton of wheat from his Kyiv neighbourhood farm for $270. Now he can't find a purchaser flat at $135 per ton.

"The whole system backs up," including storage options, said James Heneghan, older vice president at Gro Intelligence, a worldwide climate accompanied by every one one other accompanied by agriculture facts analytics company. The system was meant to retain Ukraine's exports flowing, not store them.

Without money coming inside for grain, future harvests are challenging. "Farmers need to buy fertilizers, seeds, diesel, pay the salary," Horbachov said. "Ukrainian farmers can't place inside set in print money."

The country hasn't yet sprint not here of storage while the harvest begins.

Ukraine has concerning 65 million to 67 million tons of commercial cereal storage capacity, according to Horbachov, although 20% of that is inside Russian-occupied territories. Farmers themselves tin store 20 million to 25 million tons, nevertheless some of that is excessively inside occupied areas.

By the extremity of September, when the harvest of corn accompanied by every one one other accompanied by sunflower seeds begins, Ukraine will face a shortage of storage capacity.

The FAO not lengthy ago announced a $17 million scheme to assist address the storage deficit. Heneghan of Gro Intelligence noted that one temporary answer could exist providing farmers accompanied by silo bags for storage.

In eastern accompanied by every one one other accompanied by southern regions near the front line, farmers convey on accompanied by to labour their fields inside malice of the threat to their lives.

"It tin exist finished inside a little while by bombing, or while we see now, the fields are on fire," said Yurii Vakulenko inside the Dnipropetrovsk region, black smoulder perceptible inside the distance.

His workers chance their lives for little return, accompanied by storage facilities now refusing to lay clasp of their grain, Vakulenko said.

Ukraine had a record-breaking cereal harvest last year, collecting 107 million tons. Even additional had been expected this year.

Now, inside the best-case scenario, farmers will harvest only 70 million tons of cereal this year, Horbachov estimated.

"Without opening the (Black Sea) ports, I don't see some answer for Ukrainian farmers to survive," he said. "And if they don't survive, we won't exist intelligent to feed African countries."

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Francesca Ebel, Valerii Rezik accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Oleksandr Stashevskyi inside Ukraine accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Aya Batrawy inside Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.

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Follow AP's coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Anxiety grows for Ukraine's cereal farmers while harvest begins

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