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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 18-January-2018


  1. Cereal production in 2017 estimated at above average level

  2. Grain exports in 2017/18 marketing year forecast below previous year’s record

  3. Domestic prices of wheat increased over last year

  4. Around 1.2 million people estimated to be food insecure in conflict-affected areas

Plantings of winter cereals for harvest in 2018 entered dormancy stage

Planting of the 2018 winter cereals started at the end of August and concluded by the end of November 2017. The area planted under winter cereals is estimated to be close to the previous year’s level. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, as of 5 January 2018, around 86 percent of the plantings are reported to be in good and fair conditions. Weather conditions during the November-December 2017 period were favourable for wintering of cereals, which have entered dormancy stage.

Cereal production in 2017 estimated at above average level

Harvesting of the 2017 cereal crops was completed by November 2017. Aggregate cereal output is estimated at 62.3 million tonnes, still above the five-year average. Wheat output is set at 26.6 million tonnes, marginally above the high level of the previous year and close to the record of 2015. However, the share of milling wheat is estimated to be below the previous year.

Harvesting of maize was finalized by the end of November 2017 and production is estimated at 25.5 million tonnes, 9 percent below the record of 2016. The lack of rainfall during the growing season resulted in a 10 percent year-on-year decline in yields. Moreover, excessive precipitations at harvesting time negatively affected the quality of grains.

Barley production is estimated to decline by 11 percent from the good level of 2016 to 8.4 million tonnes. This decline is mainly on account of a 13 percent reduction in the area planted due to less competitive prices which induced farmers to opt for other crops.

Cereal exports in 2017/18 forecast slightly below previous year’s record

Total cereal exports in the 2017/18 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 40 million tonnes, 9 percent below the previous year’s record level. Most of the decline is on account of the expected reductions in shipments of wheat following the increased competition with the Russian Federation, which has gathered a record wheat crop in 2017. Moreover, the new requirements for imported wheat, raising the protein content from 11.5 to 12.5 percent for wheat bought from the Black Sea region, have been imposed by Egypt, the country’s largest wheat buyer. This measure is expected to favour the Russian Federation, where wheat has higher protein content compare to Ukraine. Therefore, wheat exports from Ukraine are set at 16.5 million tonnes, down 6 percent from the high level of 2016/17.

Barley exports are also expected to decline by 12 percent to 4.7 million tonnes due to a smaller domestic crop in 2017.

Similarly, maize exports are forecast at 19 million tonnes in the 2017/18 marketing year, down 9 percent from the record level of the previous year. The high level of exports, together with the decline in domestic production, are expected to withdraw the country’s maize stocks to the lowest level since 2012/13.

Domestic prices of wheat increased over last year

Export prices of wheat increased since last September on stronger demand from traditional importers. However, export prices of milling wheat eased in November 2017, pressured downwards by strong competition in the international markets.

By contrast, domestic prices of wheat showed some increases. Wholesale prices of milling wheat and wheat flour strengthened in November 2017, supported by a weakening of the local currency in the second half of the month and sustained domestic demand for milling quality wheat. In November 2017, domestic prices of wheat were around 20 percent higher than their values of a year earlier.

Around 1.2 million people estimated to be food insecure in conflict-affected areas

In conflict-affected areas, the overall cereal production is close to average. However, unemployment, reduced income and high inflation rates in conflict-affected eastern areas of the country are severely limiting food access for about 1.2 million people in 2017. The elderly living alone and female-headed households are particularly vulnerable, especially during cold winter periods of December-February.

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