From the dramatic loss of export earnings to the crowded fields of mine and destroyed agricultural machinery, the Russian invasion had a significant impact on the agricultural sector in Ukraine. Ports on the Black Sea are now closed, despite international efforts to reach an agreement, harvesting is about to begin, and silos are still full of last year’s harvest, according to a Bloomberg analysis by Agerpres.
Ukrainian farmers are looking for alternatives to grain storage and are already worried about what area they will be able to sow in the 2023 season. the conditions in which this year’s production is expected to be much lower than last year’s.
In addition, cereal quality and yield per hectare will suffer if crops are left in the field for a long time due to lack of storage space.
“Next year we will dream of the problems we are facing now. Because, believe me, next year’s problems will be much more serious, “said Dmitry Skorniakov, general manager of HarvEast, an agricultural company operating in eastern and northern Ukraine.
Before the war, Ukraine was one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflowers, and disruption to deliveries from Ukraine sent a shock wave to world agricultural markets, bringing food prices to record highs and famine concerns. worldwide.
The Kyiv government expects grain production to fall by almost 40% this year compared to 2021 after farmers struggled with fertilizer or left the land uncultivated. Even so, Ukraine now has a grain reserve of about 20 million tonnes last year, as the new agricultural season begins next month.
Ukraine could store barley and wheat crops but the biggest problem will come in the autumn when corn is harvested
One-fifth of Ukrainian grain silos have been damaged or lost as a result of Russian-occupied territories, says the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture.
This means that around October, Ukrainian farmers will have nowhere to store 10 to 15 million tons of grain.
Certain quantities of grain have started to leave Ukraine via trains, trucks and river transport, but the procedures are lengthy. In addition, Ukraine’s wheat exports normally reach peak levels after harvest and neighboring EU member states will have to manage their own crops at the same time, which will create logistical problems.
“It’s a long, difficult and expensive process. A very big problem. In a month we will have the new harvest. And I expect the situation to get even worse, “Skorniakov said.
Ukraine should have enough space to store wheat and barley, which are the first to be harvested, says Petro Melnik, president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club. The big problem will come in the fall when late crops, such as corn, are harvested. Using bags for storing grain, a practice used by farmers for many years, will help. Even in this situation, the entire surplus will not be able to be absorbed, and farmers also need capacity to clean and dry the grain, Melnik said.
Ukraine has asked European partners for help with storing the next crop. Mobile storage facilities could provide additional capacity of 15 million tons, the Ukrainian prime minister said recently. Other allies have vowed to help, while US President Joe Biden has said temporary silos will be built in countries bordering Ukraine, such as Poland.
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