LVIV, Ukraine, March 31 (Reuters) - Ukrainian farmers have sown about 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) with various spring crops by Thursday, or a tenth more than by the same date last year, despite the Russian invasion, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy said.
A lack of fuel had not affected sowing, he added.
“We are negotiating with suppliers so that the sowing campaign does not stop,” Vysotskiy said in a televised statement.
This month, Ukrainian agriculture officials told Reuters that the spring crop sowing area in 2022 could more than halve from last year, to about 7 million hectares, versus 15 million hectares expected before the invasion.
They say farmers could reduce the area sown with sunflower and corn, but increase the area sown to cereals like peas, barley and oats.
Ukraine has suspended exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, meat and livestock since the invasion, and introduced export licences for wheat. The government said it would allow free exports of corn and sunflower oil, however.
On Thursday, Vysotskiy said Ukraine had 13 million tonnes of corn and 3.8 million tonnes of wheat in stocks by the end of March.
Last week, Ukraine’s new agriculture minister, Mykola Solskyi, said grain stocks for export amounted to $7.5 billion but did not say what the available volume was.
Global food prices would continue to rise if the situation in Ukraine following the invasion did not change, he added. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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