Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says there is a lot of apprehension among farmers about the future as they follow and experience the disruptions caused by Covid and also by the war in Ukraine.
Some 46,000 people stand to benefit from the campaign which receives financial support from the European Union (EU) and the Central Emergency Response (CERF).
Pierre Vauthier, FAO Ukraine designated responsible officer, says it’s crucial to help Ukrainian farmers, big and small.
“Agriculture is one of Ukraine’s major sectors and is important for the country’s food security. It is also a key source of income for the 12.6 million people who live in rural areas, who make up a third of the country’s population,” Vauthier says.
In total, 862 tonnes of seed potatoes have been delivered to those in need since the campaign began. Distribution was achieved in time for the spring potato sowing campaign to ensure that the potatoes can be harvested in September.
Each family or household, consisting on average of 2.6 people, receives a kit with 50kgs of seed potatoes with an expected yield of about 600kgs of potatoes. These can be stored for several months, used for the following planting seasons or sold to local markets.
At each location, FAO has been working closely with local authorities and implementing partners who assisted in the selection of beneficiaries, distribution, monitoring and engagement with communities.
“Thanks to our cooperation with FAO, we have delivered 2.5 tonnes of potatoes to the Rudkivska Amalgamated Territorial Community in Lvivska oblast. This is for 50 households who host internally displaced persons,” says Ihor Vuitsyk, head of the Board of Lviv Agrarian Chamber, FAO’s implementing partner.
“It is important that an organization like FAO really helps people, and today it especially helps those who are engaged in production because one of the FAO’s tasks is to ensure local food production,” says Vuitsyk.
15 tonnes of seed potatoes have been delivered to 300 households in Lvivska oblast, west of Ukraine. Out of this, 30 kits have been distributed to the families in the village of Khlopchytsi in Rudkivska Amalgamated Territorial Community. This village is now hosting over 150 internally displaced people from other regions of Ukraine.
Another oblast targeted by the seed potato distribution campaign is Dnipropetrovska in central and eastern Ukraine where 3 690 households have received the kits. Some of these were delivered to 41 villages in Verkhniodniprovska Amalgamated Territorial Community whose residents are hosting 2 685 internally displaced people.
"Some companies closed, reduced staff or fired people. We cannot provide work to the local population. And we have to think about how to feed people this winter,” said Genadii Lebid, Head of Verkhniodniprovska Amalgamated Territorial Community, who noted that because of the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the conflict people are very eager to plant their gardens and have some food for their families.