Ukraine govt improves harvest forecast because ‘weather is nice’

The Ukrainian ministry of agrarian policy has improved its 2023 harvest forecast given the favourable weather conditions, the minister said on Tuesday.

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Speaking on national television, agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi said the forecast had at first been that the harvest would be 10 percent less compared to last year.

"But the weather is really quite good this year, as of today. And we have already adjusted this forecast for the better. We think that there will be a six-percent drop compared to last year," the minister said.

"This is a preliminary [assessment] because there are still a few months ahead."

Mr Solskyi explained the initial forecast was based on a change in the structure of sown areas in favour of more expensive crops but with lower yields – including soybeans or sunflower instead of corn – as well as lower investments in land, caused by logistical problems.

The minister noted the harvesting of rapeseed, barley, and wheat has been going on for several weeks.

"We expect the same amount of rapeseed as last year, maybe even a little more. Barley will be less, as we planted less, by 15 to 20 percent. And wheat will be less, as we planted less.

"We hope to compensate with spring crops in the autumn, but we will not be speculating."

Ukraine will harvest 68 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds in 2023, down 5.3 million tonnes from 2022 and down 36 percent from the year of 2021, the Ukrainian Grain Association predicted.

The significantly lower volume of the future harvest is due to Russia occupying part of Ukrainian territory, mining, hostilities, and a lack of funds and other resources for farmers to carry out a full sowing campaign and grow crops.

According to the UN, the war will cause Ukraine's wheat harvest to be significantly below average.