NATURALLY ENDOWED with some of the richest soil and best climatic conditions in Europe, Ukraine was one of the Soviet Union's most agriculturally advanced republics. With only 15 percent of the USSR's arable land resources, the republic produced nearly a quarter of its grain, 22 percent of the meat, and accounted for more than 30 percent of its total agricultural exports before the Soviet monolith's collapse in 1991.1 Even in 1992, Ukraine was the world's seventh-largest producer of wheat and second only to France in its output of sugar beets.2

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