April 11 (Reuters) - The 2022 spring crop sowing area in Ukraine can reach 80% of the pre-war acreage if the country manages to clear mines in northern regions, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy was quoted as saying on Monday.
Ukrainian agriculture officials said in February that the sowing area could fall 50% due to the Russian invasion, but later they revised the sowing area forecast to around 70% as the Russia failed to occupy most of the country.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarise the country. Western countries call it an unprovoked war of aggression.
“If the territories of Chernihiv and Sumy regions, which have huge agricultural areas, can be cleared of mines in coming weeks, the sown area may increase to 80%,” state-run Ukrinform news agency quoted Vysotskiy as saying.
Part of the territory of Chernihiv and Sumy regions were occupied and after the withdrawal of the Russian forces, they were heavily mined.
Vysotskiy said that even if the area under spring crops would be reduced, Ukraine will be able to provide itself with food.
“If you look at what we plan to sow 70%, then 30% to 40% of them will be for domestic consumption. And there will also be some volume for exports,” he said.
He gave no 2022 grain harvest forecast or outlook for exports.
One of the world’s leading grains suppliers, Ukraine used to ship most of its agricultural goods via Black Sea ports, but with war raging along much of the coast, traders have been scrambling to transport more grain by rail.
Ukrainian officials have said corn stocks totalled about 13 million tonnes at the end of March, with only 300,000 tonnes of the grain exported during the month.
Export prices for Ukrainian corn have fallen due to large stocks and limited demand for the grain, which due to Russia’s invasion can only be exported by rail across Ukraine’s western border, analyst APK-Inform said on Saturday. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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