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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 16-December-2022


  1. Reduced area planted with 2023 winter cereal crops

  2. Total cereal production in 2022 forecast 30 percent below five‑year average level

  3. Pace of exports remains below pre‑war levels

  4. About 17.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance

Reduced area planted with 2023 winter cereal crops

Planting of 2023 winter crops was completed by mid‑November and crops are currently in winter dormancy phase. The area sown with wheat amounts to about 3.8 million hectares, well below the 6.5 million hectares planted in 2021. Overall, the area sown with the 2023 winter cereal crops is estimated to be 40 percent below the average level.

Concerns exist over the 2023 cereal production. Although no major shortages of inputs are reported, low domestic farmgate prices are constraining the capacity of many farmers to purchase inputs. General economic uncertainty has also constrained credit availability. Even though some progress has been made on demining areas where fighting is not active, remnants of the war continue to often hamper access to fields. Outbound population movements also limit the availability of labour.1

Total cereal production in 2022 forecast 30 percent below average

The 2022 winter cereal crops (mostly wheat) were harvested in July and August. Active fighting and the economic impact of the war hampered crop production activities through constrained access to fields, lack of labour, high producing costs and low farmgate prices. Application of fertilizers and harvesting activities were hindered by remnants of the war in fields, especially mines, and large cropped areas were reported to be unharvested. As a result, the 2022 wheat harvest is estimated at about 20 million tonnes, almost 38 percent below the bumper 2021 output and about 25 percent below the average level.

Harvesting of spring cereals (mainly maize) was still ongoing as of early December. High energy costs and damages to energy infrastructure render it prohibitively expensive for farmers to harvest the entire maize crop. In addition, while generally favourable weather conditions prevailed during the cropping season until August, above‑average rainfall amounts in autumn challenged maize harvesting activities. As of 8 December 2022, 2.8 million hectares of maize (or 66 percent of the planted area) had been harvested, with an output of 17.2 million tonnes.

FAO forecasts the 2022 cereal harvest, including winter and spring crops, at 51 million tonnes, almost 30 percent below the five‑year average level and 40 percent below the exceptional 2021 output.1

Pace of exports remains below pre‑war levels

Exports in the 2022/23 marketing year (July/June) are tentatively forecast at 40 million tonnes as of mid‑December 2022, including 23 million tonnes of maize and 14 million tonnes of wheat, 8 and 23 percent, respectively, below the five‑year average levels. With the closure of Black Sea ports since the start of the war in late February 2022 until July, agricultural commodities were mostly transported by rail and river, which have a significantly lower capacity compared to sea freight. With the launch and renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as efforts to boost export capacity through non‑marine channels, grain exports have increased. However, the pace of exports still remains below the average of pre‑war levels and concerns exist that war‑induced damages to domestic infrastructure, energy shortages and reduced crop production could keep exports of grains and vegetable oils below potential.1

About 17.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance

Despite decreased cereal production, food availability at the national level is reported to be adequate, but access remains a major challenge. The country had already been experiencing elevated levels of food price inflation in the past, due to the economic impact of the conflict in eastern parts of the country. Annual food price inflation in February 2022 stood at 14.3 percent and increased to 35.1 percent in November 2022. In addition, rising energy costs, amidst high unemployment rates and limited livelihood opportunities, are reducing households’ purchasing power and driving more people into poverty.

According to the latest Update of the Ukraine Flash Appeal issued by the United Nations in August 2022, about 17.7 million people were estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection between March and December 2022. This shows an increase of about 2 million people compared to the number estimated in April 2022, mainly caused by the intensification of fighting and hostilities across the frontline since May. About 7.8 million Ukrainian refugees had been recorded in European countries as of 6 December 2022.2 Although some people returned to their homes, there are still large numbers of Internally displaced persons (IDPs) located in western parts of the country.

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.


1 FAO Information Note, The importance of Ukraine and the Russian Federation for global agricultural markets and
the risks associated with the war in Ukraine,
5 December 2022: .

2 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): (accessed
on 14 December 2022).