Ukraine farmers may cut winter grain sowing by at least 30% - Union

KYIV, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Ukrainian farmers are likely to cut the winter grain sowing area by at least 30% because of a jump in prices for seeds and fuel combined with a low selling prices of their grain, the Ukrainian Agrarian Council (UAC) said on Monday.

Ukraine has already started 2022 winter grain sowing and the agriculture ministry said last month it expects the winter wheat sowing area could shrink to 3.8 million hectares (9.3 million acres) from 4.6 million a year earlier.

Ukraine sowed more than 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area was occupied during the Russian invasion that began in February and only around 4.6 million hectares of wheat would be harvested in Ukrainian-controlled territory.

“The main reasons that encourage agricultural producers to reduce sown areas are the high cost of fertilizers, problems with the sale of grain, as well as too low purchase prices for agricultural products,” the UAC said in a statement.

The council represents thousands of small and medium-sized agriculture producers across Ukraine.

“We will reduce the sowing of winter crops by almost half. I consider it impractical to sell wheat today at cost price and still sow when there is no sale. I am looking for a sales market. In order to sow now, the farm needs to sell 500-700 tonnes,” the UAC quoted farmer Valery Martyshko from the Kyiv region as saying.

Ukrainian grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports, a key route for shipments, were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)