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Ukraine ups 2022 spring sowing area forecast - ministry

FILE PHOTO: Sunflowers are seen on a field near the village of Grebeni, Ukraine, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

(Reuters) - Ukraine’s agriculture ministry on Saturday revised up its forecast for the area to be sown to 2022 spring crops, giving no reason for the new outlook.

Around 13.4 million hectares of various commodities, such as corn, cereals, sugar beet and sunflower might be sown this year, 3.5 million hectares less than in 2021, the ministry said in a report.

The forecast is significantly higher than an estimate in March from Roman Leshchenko, then the agriculture minister, who said the 2022 spring crop sowing area could more than halve from last year to some 7 million hectares.

The ministry’s report did not give a breakdown of acreage for separate commodities.

Ukraine is a major global agriculture producer and exporter, but the Russian invasion since February is expected to lead to a sharp reduction in the 2022 harvest and exports in the forthcoming 2022/23 season.

The ministry said farmers had already started sowing spring wheat, barley, peas, sunflower, rape seed, sugar beet and soy beans.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, editing by Clelia Oziel