Kyva: How to save rural Ukraine
Every year more than 15 villages and urban-type settlements disappear in Ukraine. And in total during 27 years of independence, Ukraine has lost about 500 rural administrative units. It is terrible to realize that villages in our state are dying out at a crazy pace. This is a disaster for the entire country, but, apparently, not for our politicians who tantalize the land and abandon people to the mercy of fate.
Rural areas feed Ukraine. And not only Ukraine, but half of Europe. Every year 32 million hectares of land are cultivated in our country. These volumes are twice as large as in Poland, three times larger than in Germany and four times larger than in Romania. But over the past few years, we have literally been killing our land, and with our own hands.
Let us be frank. Who uses Ukrainian land? Who cultivates it? How much villagers get for their land parcels? The current situation in rural areas is reminiscent of genocide, calculated and cruel. There is a perception that the state is consciously trying to minimize the number of villages and the rural population. To give fertile lands to large agricultural holdings, and to use employable people as cheap workforce. Villagers receive real pennies for their land parcels. However, it is even impossible to call pennies. What a sack of grain and a bottle of sunflower oil are?
All agricultural holdings are oligarchs. Of course, they have equipment and great opportunities for cultivating land and harvesting. But the village gets nothing from it. It only loses. After all, people still do not have any job or rental rates equal to European ones. Instead, our precious land is poured with chemicals and it is ground down. Moreover, almost the entire crop is exported to Europe and sold there at European prices. Oligarchs get super profits, and Ukraine is losing its full potential.
However, they do not want to invest a penny in the development of infrastructure. Their trucks continue destroying the already broken-down roads. There are no good shops. Schools and kindergartens are closing down. Do not even get me started on the places of cultural and leisure activities. Many villages are still not gasified, and even if there is gas, people do not have enough money to pay for it. Of course, young people in enormous numbers move to larger towns and cities or abroad. And for elder people it only remains to save a penny for that very day.
Is it possible to change this situation? I am sure that our villages can still be saved. The key to success is an effective state program for the development and maintenance of rural areas. Recently, I visited Kherson region and was horrified: entire villages are on the brink of extinction. Yes, for these settlements, the creation of communities is the only way out. In the present conditions, only communal agriculture and farming can breathe life into rural Ukraine. No matter how, but we will have to revive those collective farms. Then, a single merged territorial community will stop leasing farmland to agricultural holdings. Villagers will be able to independently organize work, create small farms and will grow crops. This will improve the quality of food, because you see what we eat lately - some kind of imported synthetics. And all of our organics goes to other countries. And so we will become healthier and gain more self-confidence.
Thousands of people will be employed. Hundreds of settlements will get back to their feet and become autonomous. Villagers will no longer wait for handouts from oligarchs. They will be able to manage their own land and their crops. They themselves will decide where to spend the money earned with their own hands.
This will definitely strengthen the whole country. The money will remain inside the villages, and this will immediately entail the development of infrastructure and the improvement of the living conditions of people. If we restore rural areas, our people will not even think about going somewhere to earn money, because elementary logic works here – why to leave in the middle of nowhere, if you can work for the benefit of your children, your community, and your country. They will live with a feeling that they are not working for the bottomless pockets of the oligarchs, but for themselves.
And I also want to remind you that after all, it is rural areas that are the treasury of our Ukrainian traditions. And in order to preserve them, families must remain in their native land, work on it and harvest their crops. After all, only our land and only land in our hands will make us strong and invulnerable.
I dream to see our country strong and prosperous, and I sincerely believe that we will succeed. We will win together!