Quantifying War-Induced Crop Losses in Ukraine in Near Real Time to Strengthen Local and Global Food Security
This paper uses a 4-year panel (2019–2022) of 10,125 village councils in Ukraine to estimate direct and indirect effects of the war started by Russia on area and expected yield of winter crops. Satellite imagery is used to provide information on direct damage to agricultural fields; classify crop cover using machine learning; and compute the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for winter cereal fields as a proxy for yield. Without conflict,
winter crop area would have been 9.14 rather than 8.38 mn. ha, a 0.75 mn. ha reduction, 86% of which is due to economy-wide effects. The estimated conflict-induced drop in NDVI for winter cereal, which is particularly pronounced for small farms, translates into a 15% yield reduction or an output loss of 4.2 million tons. Taking area and yield reduction together suggests a war-induced loss of winter crop output of 20% if the current winter crop can be harvested fully.