Oleg Bakhmatyuk

Oleg Bakhmatyuk, a shareholder of one of Ukraine's largest agricultural holdings, UkrLandFarming, has spoken about crop forecasts for 2020 and what could improve the drought situation.

In an interview with the Strana news outlet, he confirmed that moisture levels are very low and crop forecasts have been officially reduced by 20%, Dilova Stolytsia reported. But there are factors that can favorably affect crop yields. "I believe 20% is a correct review. But there are factors that we can't influence. If God gives us rain and good weather, everything may change. In terms of technology, Ukraine might not be at the same level as Germany and France, but it's very close. So we'll do everything that depends on farmers," the businessman said.

Bakhmatyuk also said this year's drought was not a one-time problem. "Climatic conditions are changing – in fact, sand storms that have recently covered Ukraine are a consequence of the transformation of a significant part of our country into a semi-desert or an arid steppe," the businessman said. "The reason here is not only the lack of rain, but also chaotic deforestation that has been ongoing for years."

UkrLandFarming is one of Ukraine's largest agricultural holdings engaged in harvesting cereals and oilseeds, other seeds, as well as in livestock farming, and production of eggs and egg products (Avangardco IPL). The enterprises that are part of the group of companies operate in 600 settlements across 22 regions of Ukraine.