Heifer's Work in Ukraine
Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe and has a favorable geographic position. Bordering Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia, it is located in the western part of the Eastern European plain, between the Carpathians in the west and Crimea Mountains in the south. Ukraine gained independence in 1991 after 52 years of occupation by the Soviet Union, beginning in 1939.
The region is known for its fertile land for farming and agricultural land accounts for nearly 70 percent of the total land area. One challenge that does exist in the country is the issue of degrading villages. Out of the 28,504 villages in Ukraine, almost 8,000 villages belong to the category of ‘degrading villages’, where the population decline is impossible to stop without state intervention. However, with rich agricultural land, a highly trained labor force and good education system, it is predicted that Ukraine has the potential to become a major European economy.
Out of the 28,504 villages in Ukraine, almost 8,000 villages are degrading meaning that the population decline is impossible to stop without state intervention.
Heifer Ukraine began its work in 1994 with the first pilot project “Small Farm Development in Drohobych District”. The first delivery of Simmental heifers to farmer families in Drohobych Region took place within the next year. By 2000, it was clear that in order to better fulfill its mission Heifer International had to become accessible to people from all parts of Ukraine.
In 2000 Heifer International Ukraine was registered with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, with its office located in Lviv. In 2003, to achieve maximum results and expand the program, the head office was transferred from Lviv to Kyiv, which has a more central location and is easily accessible from all parts of the country.
Since 2004, in accordance with its strategic plan, Heifer Ukraine started five new projects in Kyivska Oblast where agricultural service cooperatives were the implementing organizations. Activities were also expanded to eastern, northern and southern Ukraine. This was one of the most important steps in the development of the Heifer Ukraine program, which shifted its focus from supporting non-governmental organizations to helping agricultural service cooperatives reach sustainability.