According to preliminary estimates, this year’s sown areas will decrease by 7 million hectares compared to the pre-war figure of 29 million hectares.
This was stated by Ihor Vishtak, Director of the Agrarian Development Department of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, during a discussion panel at the Ukrinform – Ukraine Media Center.
According to the him, the war has significantly changed the structure of sown areas and crop volumes. A decrease in the amount of fertilizer applied will directly affect the gross harvest.
“Of course, we will have enough food for domestic consumption in all food groups. But we expect a change in export potential. In particular, much less corn will be sown, whereas this is one of the main crops that was exported,” said Ihor Vishtak.
He emphasized that the Government would focus on supporting small farmers, so it was currently working on extending the program to pay subsidies and grants per hectare of cultivated land or per head of cattle. Among other things, the urgent need to support these farmers is due to the fact that they are mostly engaged in vegetable production, which is currently in short supply on the domestic market, explained Ihor Vishtak.
In addition, according to him, the Government has budgeted more than UAH 16 billion for the loan program, of which the lion’s share – UAH 9.6 billion – is for farmers. This will allow to partially prolong the loans taken last year, as well as to provide new loans for the sowing season.
The problems of domestic exports and the risks of a decrease in supply on the global market of Ukrainian grains and oilseeds were presented during the discussion panel by analysts of Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, UCAB.
Experts say that the demand for Ukrainian grain, oilseeds and processed products remains quite high from foreign buyers. The problem is that all the risks and logistical difficulties are covered at the expense of a lower purchase price from farmers.
Therefore, according to experts, the key and most significant problem of the next sowing season is the lack of financial resources for further business activities. In general, the key problems for Ukrainian farmers are: low domestic prices that do not cover the cost of production; rising prices for inputs needed to grow crops; and the high cost of grain processing and storage.