Have you ever wondered where milk comes from in Ukraine?

Well, yes cows, but surprisingly almost eighty per cent of Ukrainian milk is produced by private farmers that own an average of just 1.5 cows.

They sell their milk to local factories who visit each day to collect the ‘village’ milk. The majority of private producers also sell their milk at market. Ira from the village of Borodyanka – under the smoke of Kiev – is typical example of a country farmer. I met her while she is walking her cow back home.

After she brings the cow home, the milking process starts. Two cats are watching. (a pig is closeby too)

After milking the cow she filters the milk through a sieve and gives me a glass to try. Later that day a milk truck will collect the remaining 18 liters.

However, not all the milk comes from small farmer like Ira. Professional dairy farms exist, but they are quite scarce. One such example is the Dolinski farm which is situated in the south of Ukraine, in the Kherson region. The farm has 600 milk cows.


And of course, many calves.

Two locals are feeding the calves with mother milk.

The French dairy producer Danone collects the milk at the farm and pays 35 euro cents a liter. Ira receives 20 cents per liter because her milk is supposed to be of lower quality. Contrary to what many people in Ukraine tend to believe (Ukrainians have a special love for ‘naturprodukt), milk in the supermarkets contains far less bacteria. According to experts, fresh market milk is responsible for hunderds of contaminations a year.

The truck is about to clean the stable.

A worker is collecting the hay for the cows.

The Dolinski farm has Soviet roots. It was founded in 1974 and today it employs 40 people. This rises during harvest time to 140.

Soviet style monument leading to the farm