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VIDEO: U.N. warns of food insecurity for east Ukraine farmers

This farmland in Ukraine's Donbas region has seen better days. A protracted armed conflict in Ukraine's east -- between government troops and rebels -- is pushing local farmers to their limits, says a new report from the UN Food and AgricultureOr...

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This farmland in Ukraine's Donbas region has seen better days.

A protracted armed conflict in Ukraine's east -- between government troops and rebels -- is pushing local farmers to their limits, says a new report from the UN Food and AgricultureOrganization.

It says rising prices for everything from animal feed to fertilizer, as well as damage from the war's shelling, has had a devastating impact on subsistence farmers who rely on their crops to survive.

"It's dangerous now… there are so many mines and livestock are still grazing. It's always a risk, but we don't have any choice, we have to work."

The war's killed at least 8,000 people and forced scores to flee their homes.

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A household survey by the U.N. found that more and more people are leaving the area, still.

Those who do stay struggle to feed themselves.

"We bought some cabbage, which might last the winter. I will make it last as long as possible… our potatoes are small, but I cook them for my granddaughter. And that's all."

In the village of Luhanskoe, the Kovalchuk family are feeling the pinch.

The war made their quality of life plummet.

Seven hungry children to feed and only one family member employed.

"Our family is big and there's not enough goat's milk. Only enough for the youngest children, but not for the oldest. But if we had a cow…. We want to buy one but we can't at the moment."

The UN recommends supplementing food aid handouts with seeds, fertilizer and tools to help families here in the LONG TERM.

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But it also predicts crop production will continue to shrink ... and that means food insecurity for the poorest farmers of eastern Ukraine.

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