Eastern Ukraine: Harvesting under Fire

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ID: 24614
Original Filename: ukraine_1.mp4
Title: Eastern Ukraine: Harvesting under Fire

The results of a household survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) paint a bleak picture for small-scale, family-run farms in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Eastern Ukraine. The conflict – now more than a year old – has sparked skyrocketing prices for food, fuel, transport, seed, fertilizer, animal feed and other agricultural and household needs. Economic and security conditions are straining people’s ability to adapt.

The vast majority of survey respondents are subsistence farmers who produce crops mainly for their own consumption. Even those who produce cash crops or have surplus production face daunting obstacles to selling their produce: lack of transport, high fuel prices, insecurity, distant markets and low prices at market.

Migration is on the increase, the survey found, and those who remain on the land have a declining capacity to feed themselves.

Full press release:


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License type: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO
Credit: FAO
Country: Ukraine
Size (cm): 580.82 MB; 1920 x 1080 pixels; 4 minutes 0 seconds;
Orientation: Landscape
Date Created: 07/12/2015 12:59:49

In eastern Ukraine, family-run farms are feeling the impact of the on-going conflict. Life was never easy here, but living on the frontline is stretching the resilience of these families to the limit.

Soundbite (in Ukrainian): Nikolay Semko (50 years old)

“It`s dangerous now… there are so many mines and livestock are still grazing. It’s always a risk, but we don’t have any choice, we have to work. I don`t go to the fields now. I just work in or behind my garden and sometimes I mow the grass in the meadow...”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, has published the results of a household survey carried out in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. They paint a bleak picture for food-security and agricultural productivity here, where most inhabitants usually rely on their own produce to feed their families. But now even those who grow cash crops are facing many challenges.

Skipping meals, migrating to find work, borrowing money, selling assets, killing livestock and planting less are just some of the ways these families are dealing with the hardship.

Soundbite (in Ukrainian): Rayisa Shenderovska (77 years old, her house and garden have been hit by shrapnel 5 times this year and she lost half her harvest.)

“I could show you our potatoes, although we don’t always have any. We bought some cabbage, which might last the winter. I will make it last as long as possible… our potatoes are small, but I cook them for my grand-daughter. And that’s all. We don’t have any fats, butter or oils. And we don’t even have a shop here. If my son doesn’t bring me bread I will go hungry because there is a bread shortage. I have to go to Luhanka or Myronovka [NB. Other villags] but I have trouble walking. If I have to go further than the yard I use a walking stick. And that’s it.”

Many of the farmers depend on food aid. But the FAO survey recommends immediate provision of the basic farming equipment and inputs needed to maintain local crop and livestock production. But while the conflict continues, life here can never be normal.

Soundbite (in Ukrainian): Tatyana Avdeyeva (49, married to Nikolai Semko)

“We plant our garden under fire and harvest under fire. As a result we don’t have enough potatoes. We pay high prices for onion and carrot since a bomb exploded in our garden. It was very hard to plant a vegetable garden and harvest our produce.” 

FAO has already distributed potato seeds, animal feed and chickens to the most vulnerable families. But if all the needy families are to be reached, operations need to be scaled up.  


Report on Socio-economic Impact and Needs Assessment. Donbass, Ukraine: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5171e.pdf


1. Wide shot at dawn, yellow car driving up long road;

2. Old man pushing bicycle along the road;

3. Wide shot of landscape with farm houses;

4. Close-up of corrugated iron peppered with shrapnel holes with focus shift to show farm yard;

5. Group of farmers seen through shrapnel hole;

6. Man crossing road with anti-tank device in foreground;

7. Wide landscape shot with Ukrainian church in background, lone chicken in foreground;

8. Nikolay Semko soundbite (with split audio at the start);

9. (Interview cover shot) Mid-shot of farm barn with chickens in front of blue doors;

10. (Interview cover shot) Close-up chicken in coop;

11. Nikolay in shot again (with split audio at end);

12. Mid-shot local men pushing bikes and women water container in front of bombed out building;

13. Mid-shot of only local shop, with broken windows;

14. Close shot of cow peering out from shed;

15. Long shot of farm yard with sheep;

16. Mid-shot of group of sheep;

17. Shot of sheep;

18. Shot of dead vines in bombed out greenhouse (belonging to Rayisa Shenderovksa);

19. Detail of broken greenhouse window;

20. Wide shot of farm barn with broken roof;

21. Rayisa Shenderovska walking through her farmyard saying ‘oh god’ in Ukrainian;

22. Rayisa Shenderovksa soundbite (split audio at start and finish);

23. Wide shot of countryside with farmhouse behind trees;

24. Tatyana Avdeyeva and Nicolay Semko pushing bicycles along the road;

25. Farmer watching her cows eat grass;

26. Sheep eating grass from a wooden box;

27. Tatyana Avdeyeva interview (split audio at start and finish);

28. Cows eating grass;

29. Sheep eating grass from wooden feeder:

30. Detail chicken in coup;

31. Chicken coup seen through wire mesh.