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By Chris Brown, CBC News

In what has become a recurring theme on the internet during the war in Ukraine, a tractor tows an abandoned Russian vehicle in southern Ukraine. (RALee85/Twitter)

Ukraine's farmers now have the fifth-largest army in Europe - or so goes a dark joke on the internet, a reference to all the captured Russian military equipment they've towed off the battlefield.

In a country desperate to keep its spirits up in dire times, the near-daily social media posts featuring Ukrainian farm tractors recovering Russian tanks, trucks and missile launchers that got stuck in their muddy fields have certainly helped.

But now, Ukraine's government is asking its agricultural community for more than just morale boosts.

April 1, the unofficial start of the spring planting season, is looming, and the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging farmers and food producers to redouble their efforts to ensure every last seed is sown and every available piece of land is used to its full advantage.

Chickens are seen on a farm near Lviv, Ukraine. (Jean Francois Bisson/CBC)

Chickens are seen on a farm near Lviv, Ukraine. (Jean Francois Bisson/CBC)
That's because the Russian invasion has made an enormous part of Ukraine a war zone and off-limits to food production.

"If things stand as they are, it's very likely that we will be able to safely use only 30 to 50 per cent of arable land," said Nazar Bobitski, who works at the Ukrainian Business and Trade office.

To view the complete report, click here.

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