New programme aims to prevent Ukraine from requiring food assistance in the long term.
Photo: © Olena Zaskochenko/

Helping Ukrainian farmers resume production

The ongoing war has damaged Ukraine’s agriculture and food production, disrupted supply chains and exports, increased production costs and caused widespread mine contamination. A new programme aims to help smallholder farmers.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a joint programme in collaboration with mine action partner Fondation Suisse de Déminage (FSD) to support Ukrainian smallholder farmers and rural families most affected by the war, the two organisations announced in June 2023.

The programme has already started in Kharkivska oblast, and will later expand to Mykolaivska and Khersonska oblasts, focusing on farmers with land plots smaller than 300 hectares as well as rural families growing food for their own consumption. 

The programme is designed to safely release land back to productive use, including by clearing it from mines and other explosive remnants of the war, to help restore agricultural livelihoods, contribute to Ukraine’s economic recovery and phase out the need for humanitarian assistance for thousands of rural families. 

According to the Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment, published in February 2023, Ukraine’s production of grain and oilseeds decreased by 37 percent in 2022. Almost 90 percent of small-scale crop producers surveyed by FAO in Ukraine reported a decrease in revenue due to the war, and one in four reported having stopped or significantly reduced their agricultural activity.

FAO, WFP and FSD in close coordination with communities, local authorities and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, will first identify and map lands that require demining by using satellite imagery. In the second phase, demining teams will survey and clear lands from mines and other explosive remnants of the war, prioritising plots that can be quickly released with minimal clearance work. In the third phase, FAO and FSD will test soils to assess contamination by pollutants left behind by exploded weapons. FAO and WFP will simultaneously survey small farmers and rural families on the types of inputs and resources they need to restart agricultural production, and will provide direct in-kind or cash support where possible. 

To date, the USD 100 million project is facing a funding gap of USD 90 million. FAO and WFP estimate potential annual savings of up to USD 60 million in direct food assistance to rural communities. The project has been supported by the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, a UN pooled fund, as well as private donors.


Read more on the FAO website

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  • user
    Kagiso Makgale December 25, 2023 At 12:36 pm
    Hi, I am a small holder here in SA, I would like to meet a small holder farmer from Ukraine, who is interested in Farmig in SA, please lets connect me with a potential. Best Regards Kagiso 0665372434