LVIV, Ukraine, March 25 (Reuters) - Major global grain grower Ukraine has sown the first 150,000 hectares of spring crops amid the Russian invasion which could sharply reduce the sowing area, the country’s deputy agriculture minister said on Friday.
Taras Vysotskiy said in a statement corn, soybeans, sunflowers, millet, buckwheat, oats and sugar beets were among the crops sown.
“We can already see that in Kherson, Odesa, Mykolaiv regions, in spite of everything, sowing has started under Ukrainian flags,” Vysotskiy said.
Ukraine’s agriculture minister Roman Leshchenko, who resigned on Thursday due to health reasons, told Reuters in an interview this week that 2022 spring crop sowing area may more than halve from 2021 levels to some 7 million hectares, versus 15 million hectares expected before the Russian invasion.
Vysotskiy said he expected a decrease in the area sown with high-margin crops - sunflower and corn, but the area sown to “simpler crops in production, but important in terms of food security - peas, barley and oats will increase.”
Ukraine has already suspended exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, meat and livestock since the invasion, and introduced export licences for wheat, corn and sunflower oil.
The officials say the government is considering cancelling export limits for corn and sunflower oil as its stocks are very high.
Ukraine’s new agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi said on Friday Ukrainian grain stocks for export amount to $7.5 billion but he did not say what the volume of grains for export was.
He also said global food prices would continue to rise if the situation in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion did not change. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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