thirst ruined the harvest

after the announcement at the last cabinet of ministers of the forecast of a decrease in yields by 7 million tons, this topic is widely discussed in the media. everyone laments that we are losing an average of $ 1.5 billion out of the $ 20 billion that is given by the export of agricultural products. the main problem is ignored. and this is not a coronavirus, but a drought. there is only one way to fight it - by artificial watering. under the ussr, land reclamation was the basic segment of agriculture. watering is now so expensive that it is easier to ruin the harvest ...

the last mass famine in the ussr in 1946-1947, which arose as a result of a prolonged drought, aggravated by the shortage of workers, livestock and equipment after the great patriotic war, gave rise to a new slogan for the development of productive forces in the countryside: mechanization, chemicalization and land reclamation.

so much importance was attached to soil irrigation in the soviet union that there was even the ussr ministry of melioration and water management (ussr ministry of melioration and water management). despite such attention from the state, in the last decades before perestroika, land reclamation became the most disastrous trend in agriculture.

as experts in scientific works note, in the 1970s and 1980s about 1.2-1.4% of gdp was spent on it, which was comparable to space exploration programs, but the "exhaust" from such an impressive investment turned out to be zero: over time, the area of land introduced due to land reclamation, equaled the volume of those retired from agricultural use.

this happened because the soviet union for some reason threw its main forces to supply water to central asia. and also got carried away by large-scale, but fantastic projects such as turning the northern rivers ob and yenisei to the southern borders.

nevertheless, in ukraine, which was the breadbasket of the soviet union, land reclamation was not forgotten for a second. especially in the southern regions. at the time of gaining independence, 2.6 million hectares of land were watered in our country, today it is less than 500 thousand hectares. and before the reorientation to irrigation, there were even more lands in central asia.

the situation with the drought of this year showed that the nationwide melioration system that operated in the ussr has practically been destroyed. the pipes were cut into scrap metal. only large rich agricultural holdings can afford reclamation work. but they do not always do it. why?

in the process of preparing the article, i accidentally came across the decree of the central committee of the communist party of ukraine and the council of ministers of the ukrainian ssr no. 454 of september 14, 1976, which mentions the figure of 3.6 million hectares. i am quoting fragments in the original so that no one doubted that we had official documents on the move:

“the central committee of the communist party of ukraine and glad of ministries of the ukrainian rsr see that the news of the current program last state gratitude in the republic is carried out in a systematic manner across the wide meloration of lands ... the first church of the first church of the christian-crimean canal and the educational-roach educational system has been completed. sometimes, from the eighth five-fifths of the cultivated and drained lands, they grew by 40 percent and became 3.6 million hectares ...

in 1975, 14 percent of the total agricultural production was carried out on them. melioratsiya nabuv all of the greater importance in the development of grain government gifts, vegetables, food base for food production ...

all at once in the organization of small-scale work and in the vicarious cultivated and drained lands there may be some serious shortages, which reduce the efficiency of the agricultural production of small and capital investments.


of course, there were problems under socialism as well. and stealing too. but no one will refute the fact that the area of ​​irrigated land has sharply decreased due to the fact that the state almost stopped financing the reconstruction and restoration of the irrigation network.

a similar problem with drainage systems that save woodlands (volyn, zhytomyr, partly kiev, rovno, sumy and chernigov regions) from excess moisture.

the situation with the drought of this year showed that the nationwide reclamation system that operated in the ussr has practically been destroyed. the pipes were cut into scrap metal. only large rich agricultural holdings can afford reclamation work. but they do not always do it. why?

because under socialism water was almost free, but now it is a very expensive commodity. i found on specialized resources the calculations that the farmers give. in the southern regions affected by drought, the cost of water under normal weather conditions is 2.68 uah / m³. in the heat, taking into account additional margins, a cube of water for irrigation costs 4 uah.

at the same time, in order to get a corn harvest at the level of at least 5-6 tons per hectare, 5-6 thousand m³ of water must be poured out. this is uah 24 thousand. per hectare. the ear then becomes “golden”. paradoxically, it is more profitable to burn crops in the field than to go broke on irrigation.

спросите, есть ли программы государственной поддержки аграриев? есть. после того, как на юге одесской области, в килийском районе в мае из-за засухи повесился 66-летний фермер, который понял, что урожай не спасти и долги перед пайщиками и кредиторами не выплатить, власть зашевелилась. были приняты соответствующие меры.

пока стоимость воды для полива больше, чем сумма, которую можно выручить за урожай, фермеры не будут поливать гибнущие посевы. те, кто побогаче, наймут юристов и попытаются через суд добиваться от государства и страховых компаний компенсации за гибель посевов. а бедным ничего не останется, кроме веревки на шею

но, как утверждают аграрии, дальше обещаний господдержки дело не пошло. одесской области выделили 5,5 млн. грн. на компенсацию подачи воды. эти деньги забрали себе несколько влиятельных агрохозяйств, остальным куш не достался.

понятно, что сумма минимальная и на всех ее бы не хватило. также все мы помним, что экономика в первой половине года летела в пропасть из-за карантинных ограничений. не сомневается никто и в проблемах изменений климата. климатические зоны в украине сдвинулись, традиционно плодородные регионы переместились в более жаркую или степную зону, а большая часть агротехнологий осталась прежней. и пока еще никто точно не знает, как действовать в новых погодных условиях.

нынешний год фактически стал экспериментальным для южных областей. спасая будущий урожай, аграрии испытывали новые методики. кто-то сеял позже, чем обычно, кто-то раньше. одни предприятия активно работали с жидкими удобрениями, другие “не парились” и доверились судьбе.

в целом выиграли те, кто территориально ближе к водоемам. не важно каким – море, озера, реки, лиманы. там, где повышенная влажность бывает за счет тумана и росы. на более отдаленных южных полях посевы «придавила» жара, как бы ни старались местные хозяйственники.

самая большая беда с главным экспортным продуктом – подсолнечником. его урожайность на юге упала в несколько раз. во многих агрохозяйствах подсолнечник не налился, остановился на середине созревания и, как говорят агрономы, превратился в бесполезную «ромашку». для украины, которая является экспортером подсолнечного масла номер один в мире, это небывалый удар.

каков выход? правительство говорит о массовом запуске систем орошения. на последнем кабмине премьер-министр денис шмыгаль пообещал, что государство в бюджете на 2021 год внесет оросительные системы в программу "большая стройка", что позволит в будущем получать "прогнозированный урожай".

i will disappoint the respected idealist prime minister. as long as the cost of water for irrigation is more than the amount that can be raised for the crop, farmers will not water the dying crops. those who are richer will hire lawyers and try to seek compensation from the state and insurance companies for the loss of crops through the courts. and the poor will have nothing left but a rope around their neck. as it was sung in one soviet song: "it is not beer that kills people, water kills people."

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