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The area sown has decreased and the harvest of grains and oilseeds in Ukraine is expected to decline further in 2023, to reach ” 53 million tons “, against 65 million in 2022, according to estimates by the Ukrainian Grain Association. By 2021, 106 million tonnes had been harvested.
Ukraine should not produce more than 16 million tonnes of wheat this year, twice less than what it produced in 2021. The same is true for corn: barely 18 million against nearly 42 million before the war. Today, according to Nikolay Gorbachov, President of the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) speaking at a grain conference organized by Argus Media in Paris, many farmers are producing at a loss in Ukraine. And are forced to reduce their agricultural area.
After several months of Russian blockade, kyiv was able to resume its grain exports thanks to the corridor established under the aegis of Turkey and the UN after an agreement signed in July by kyiv and Moscow. But delays in the Black Sea and logistical difficulties considerably increase production costs. Only 20 million tons of agricultural products were able to get out. Not enough for Nikolay Gorbachov. Result: according to Gorbachov, today in Ukraine, it is no longer profitable to produce grain.
Now is not the time for optimism. The 2022 sowing campaign has been hampered due to fighting, lack of fuel and the destruction of part of the agricultural machinery and storage infrastructure. This led to the reduction of about a quarter of the cultivated area compared to the previous year, according to the UGA.
These complicated forecasts could even be made worse. In addition to these high export costs, the state of the soil which has become infertile due to the fighting, Ukraine could also experience complicated weather conditions in 2023. This will add yet another difficulty for the country’s agriculture which was , before the start of the war, the world’s fourth largest exporter of wheat and maize.
►Also listen : Ukrainian grain deal extended for winter: ‘A victory for Turkey’ (November 17, 2022)