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Ukraine's agricultural losses due to war-related soil loss in Kharkiv Oblast amount to almost US$940 million

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 19:11
Ukraine's agricultural losses due to war-related soil loss in Kharkiv Oblast amount to almost US$940 million
Stock photo: Getty Images

Agriculture losses due to soil loss caused by hostilities in Kharkiv Oblast alone currently stand at about UAH 37 billion (approx. US$936 million).

Source: Ukrainian Researchers Society 

Details: The Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine commissioned the study, which was conducted in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.


Quote: "It is critical for Ukraine to comprehend the damage caused by Russia. We need specific statistics to charge and demand recompensation from the belligerent state.

Assessing agricultural losses due to soil loss is also critical in determining the health of our soils and what we will do with them once the active phase of hostilities is over. Updating information through such a study is vitally crucial for establishing a future development strategy for both agriculture and the country as a whole," Ihor Bezkaravainyi, Ukraine's Deputy Economy Minister, said during a discussion.

The study was divided into three stages: a geospatial analysis of high-precision satellite pictures to identify arable land and the extent of the damage caused by ammunition and military equipment.

Separate digital maps of soil types and erosion levels were also generated.

"The field part of the study included sampling the affected soils for laboratory examination. Explosions have directly harmed 4,200 hectares of fertile land and may have contaminated an additional 28,200 hectares. Another 3,400 hectares of topsoil have been compressed by the transit of military equipment," the Ministry of Economy said in a statement.

"The assessment of agricultural losses caused by soil loss will be one of the most important aspects of developing a mine clearance prioritisation system.

With this puzzle piece, we will be able to design a system that will tell us when to clear which territories so that this is as efficient and productive as possible and contributes as much as possible to the country's development. We are at a point when by doing everything properly and leveraging modern capabilities, we can take a significant qualitative leap forward," added Bezkaravainyi.

Experts are currently assessing the damage done to the soil in both Kherson and Mykolaiv Oblasts. The next phase is to use the same methodology to carry out a comprehensive study of all the Ukrainian territories that have suffered from Russian attacks.

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