Ukraine urgently requires $1.5 billion for demining agricultural land
About 30% of the territory of Ukraine is potentially dangerous due to mines (Photo:Штаб АТО)
Ukraine may soon see 40 new demining companies, a crucial development after as much as 30% of Ukrainian territory – 174,000 square kilometers — could be covered in landmines, it was revealed at the European Business Association (EBA)’s Security and Business Protection Committee meeting.
The EBA committee meeting focused on agricultural business and demining agricultural lands and attracted a variety of business leaders and politicians, including representatives from Ukraine’s Economy, Agriculture, and Defense Ministries, as well as Ukroboronprom.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has identified 349 areas that are possibly contaminated, half of which are agricultural lands.
Identifying hazardous areas is a complicated and expensive endeavor.
“In fact, the contaminated areas may be around 10% of the mentioned 174,000 square kilometers, but identifying the directly hazardous areas is a long and expensive process,” the Association reported.
“To expedite the stage of non-technical survey, the Ministry of Economy, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the UNDP program, are already conducting a pilot project in Kyiv Oblast using modern drones to survey the territories. The estimated cost of the non-technical survey per hectare may be UAH 5-7 thousand ($135-190), but under conditions of high demand and insufficient number of specialists, the cost of demining per hectare may exceed the cost of the land itself.”
The business community suggests that the situation can be improved by increasing the number of operators and specialists in the mine action market.
Creating a mine action operator takes a minimum of six months: four months (400 hours) of training for sappers and 2-3 months of company certification.
“The situation is slowed down because currently in Ukraine, only two authorities provide the relevant certification — under the Ministry of Defense and the State Emergency Service — and only three centers conduct sapper training,” the Association added.
“The estimated cost of equipment for one group of 10 sappers is $100-150 thousand. Soon, approximately 40 more mine action operator companies may appear in Ukraine, as many are currently undergoing certification and specialist training.”
Currently, the interdepartmental working group on demining, coordinated by the Ministry of Economy, has identified a priority plan for 470,000 hectares of potentially contaminated agricultural land. First priority will be given to areas where vegetable crops are grown, followed by arable and grain crops, and then all other agricultural lands.
According to the World Bank, the urgent cost demining Ukraine’s agricultural land will cost about $1.5 billion.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said that it may take over ten years to clear the entire territory of Ukraine of explosive objects.
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