LVIV, Ukraine, March 15 (Reuters) - The area sown with Ukraine’s 2022 spring grain crops could fall 39% to 4.7 million hectares due to Russia’s military invasion, the APK-Inform agriculture consultancy said on Tuesday.
Ukraine is a major global producer and exporter of grain and vegetable oils, but officials and farmers expect a decline in the 2022 harvest and exports due to the war.
The country, which harvested a record 86 million tonnes of grain in 2021, sowed 7.7 million hectares of spring grains last year.
“After the invasion of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine and as a result of ongoing and further active hostilities in many key regions, there is no physical opportunity to start sowing,” APK-Inform said in a report.
The consultancy did not give a 2022 grain harvest forecast.
It also said that around 2 million hectares of winter wheat, barley and rye sown for 2022 harvest could be damaged or unavailable for harvest due to the hostilities and only around 5.5 million hectares of winter grain crops could be threshed.
“It means 28% losses,” the consultancy said.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week the country must sow as many crops as possible this spring despite the Russian invasion.
The country’s agriculture producers’ union has said farmers were likely to reduce the area sown with sunseed, rapeseed and corn this year, replacing them with cereals - buckwheat, oats and millet.
Ukraine traditionally starts spring field work in late February or in March but this year’s cold spring delayed that significantly.
Ukraine has already suspended exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, meat and livestock in the face of the invasion, and introduced licences for wheat, corn and sunflower oil exports. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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