Along Frontline Farms, Two Years of War Tests Ukraine’s Economic Resilience

21 February 2024

Ongoing danger facing farmers and uncertainty for the critical agricultural sector threatens economic growth forecasted for 2024 

After a sharp 28.8% drop in GDP in 2022, Ukraine’s economic recovery gathered pace in 2023 at 5.5%, underscoring the agility of Ukraine’s small businesses, and the importance of continued investment in the agricultural sector amidst active conflict. Yet, the headwinds against recovery remain strong as Ukraine enters its third year of full-scale war, with overall exports from Ukraine half what they were before full-scale war and ongoing disruption to supply chains due to active fighting in agricultural areas.

In addition to sustaining humanitarian support,  Mercy Corps urges continued international investment in small businesses and agriculture, which form the backbone of the Ukrainian economy, provide a lifeline for farmers and rural communities, and play a vital role in global food supply. 

Mercy Corps Response Director for Ukraine, Vicki Aken, says:

“Ukrainian farmers are dealing with shifting frontlines, active violence and shelling, penetrating cold when electricity is cut, and even landmines in recovered territory. They are at the frontlines of this war, and yet are key to Ukraine’s economic and social recovery. 

“After last year’s collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukraine’s success securing alternate routes to export grain at scale to global markets requires the international community to ensure political, logistical, and security barriers to grain exports are swiftly addressed. This not only benefits war-affected communities, but also global food supply chains at this time of great instability.

“The stories of our program participants are incredible. Take for example Yurii, who owned and operated a grain processing factory for over 10 years in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. Over 300 local farmers used to bring their grain to clean, mill and package at his factory. He lost all his belongings in the fighting, including his warehouse which was destroyed.

“Last year, Yurii received a $50,000 business grant from Mercy Corps to rebuild the factory. He restored the walls and replaced the roof before winter kicked in. He also bought the equipment needed for the new harvesting season. Once the weather warms, Yurii’s factory will resume business, restoring a vital link in the chain that connects farmers to markets.”


About Mercy Corps in Ukraine
Since the full-scale war began in 2022, Mercy Corps has supported more than 750,000 war-affected people in Ukraine and neighboring countries. We have provided cash assistance; grants for micro, small and medium businesses and farming enterprises; and household, food, and hygiene kits for vulnerable people affected by the war. 

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