KYIV, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s agricultural exports could hit 6-6.5 million metric tons in October, double the volume seen in July, as its seaports gradually reopen, the country said on 29 August. August the country’s Minister of Agriculture.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils, but its exports have fallen this year, pushing up global food prices as the Russian invasion destroyed some land agriculture and the country’s Black Sea ports have been closed.
Exports have resumed since three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under an agreement between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
Ukraine’s grain harvest in 2022 is expected to fall to 50 million metric tons from a record 86 million metric tons in 2021, according to official estimates. Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters on Monday the harvest could include 19 million metric tons of wheat, half of which would be exported, and 25 to 27 million metric tons of maize.
Only half a million metric tons of wheat were exported in August, he said, adding volumes would increase.
“This year wheat in Ukraine is of lower quality than last year. Cleaning in some areas has been delayed due to rain and we are seeing quality issues. It’s not the best season in terms of quality,” Solsky said in the interview.
Ukraine’s winter wheat area sown for the 2023 harvest will decline by at least 20% from 2022, to around 3.8 million hectares, due to the Russian invasion, Solsky said . Russia describes its action in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.
Ukraine sowed more than 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area was occupied during the invasion and only about 4.6 million hectares of wheat would be harvested on territory under Ukrainian control, the minister said.
At least 10 million metric tons of various grains could be harvested in uncontrolled territory, but a significant area of uncontrolled territory would not be sown this fall, he said, without giving a figure.
Ukraine’s winter barley sown area for the 2023 crop could also drop 20% from last year, while winter rapeseed area would remain unchanged, Solsky said.
Next year’s maize planting area would also decrease and be replaced by soybeans or sunflowers, he said.
“The rapeseed is already pressing, the old stocks (wheat and corn) are already pressing, the sunflower harvest will start in the coming weeks and on September 10 the corn will be harvested,” he said.
Officials expect Ukraine’s main agricultural exports – grains, oilseeds and oils – to reach around 4 million metric tons in August, up from 3 million metric tons in July, and Solsky said the government is n did not intend to reduce agricultural exports again this year.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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