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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 12-June-2019


  1. Favourable prospects for 2019 cereal crop output

  2. Maize production reached all-time high in 2018

  3. Record maize exports forecast in 2018/19

  4. Export prices of wheat decreased in May, after reaching four-year high levels in February

  5. About 1.1 million people estimated food insecure in conflict-affected areas

Favourable prospects for 2019 cereal crop output

Harvesting of the 2019 winter crops, planted between August and October 2018 over an above-average area of 7.6 million hectares, is expected to start in July. Average precipitations across the country in December 2018 and January 2019 were followed by below average rains in February and March. Rainfall amounts returned to average in April and became above average in May, especially in the western regions, where they fully replenished soil moisture and benefited crop development. According to remote sensing data, by the end of May, vegetation conditions were near average across most of the country.

Planting of spring cereals finalized in early June under favourable weather conditions. The area sown with spring cereals is officially set at an above-average level of 7.2 million hectares.

Following the increase in area planted with both winter and spring cereals, if weather conditions remain favourable throughout the remainder of the cropping season, the early forecast of the 2019 aggregate cereals output points to about 69 million tonnes, close to the previous year’s well above average level.

Maize production reached all-time high in 2018

The 2018 aggregate cereal production is estimated at 69.3 million tonnes, 10 percent above the five-year average. The upsurge is due to a record output of maize, officially estimated at 35.8 million tonnes, 24 percent above the five-year average level and with a 45 percent year-on-year increase. The rise is due to a larger planted area and abundant rainfall in July 2018, which resulted in higher yields. Wheat output is set at the near-average level of 24.6 million tonnes, while barley production is estimated at 7.4 million tonnes, 14 percent below the average, as yields were reduced by unfavourable weather conditions during the crop growing period.

Record maize exports forecast in 2018/19

Total cereal exports in the 2018/19 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 47.4 million tonnes, about 20 percent above the five-year average and an all-time high. The upsurge is mainly due to record maize shipments, expected at 27.5 million tonnes, about 30 percent above the five-year average. Wheat exports are forecast at 16 million tonnes, about 7 percent above the average level. Barley exports are forecast at a near-average level of 3.6 million tonnes.

Export prices of wheat decreased in May, after reaching four-year high levels in February

Export prices of milling quality wheat reached, in February 2019, four-year high levels, amid tightening availabilities, following the 2018 below average domestic output of wheat and large export flows. However, between February and May 2019, prices declined by about 13 percent, due to favourable 2019 wheat production prospects and a slowdown in demand for imports in the international market. Domestic wheat prices slightly declined during the last two months, but in May, they were still above the levels reached a year earlier.

About 1.1 million people estimated food insecure in conflict-affected areas

The civil conflict, which began in the spring of 2014 in the eastern part of the country, has severely affected the overall food security situation in the conflict-affected areas. In eastern provinces, employment opportunities decreased with the drastic reduction of industrial production, especially in the Donbas Region, formerly the economic heartland of the country. The 2018 production of cereals and legumes has particularly decreased in the Donetska Province, where it was set at about 35 percent below the pre-crisis levels. In rural areas, where households mostly rely on self-production of food, transport connections are largely damaged due to the conflict. This, as a result, complicates the access to agricultural inputs, such as vegetable seeds, fodder for livestock, fertilizers and tools. Unemployment, reduced income and high inflation rates severely limited the access to food for about 1.1 million people in 2018.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.