This year's Ukrainian harvest will be higher than last year's in terms of certain crops. Denys Marchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Agri Council, explains whether it will be possible to export grain in the face of constant shelling of ports and export bans by the EU.

"The current harvest has already exceeded expectations, although the corn harvest is just beginning. Ukraine can harvest a total of about 80 million tons, we already have high soybean harvest rates, and the sunflower harvest has increased. However, the welfare of producers will depend on the ability to export grain. Farmers need funds for the autumn sowing campaign, more than 700,000 hectares have already been sown with winter crops for the harvest 2024," said Denys Marchuk.

According to him, the export of Ukrainian agricultural products in August reached good indicators despite all the obstacles.

"Even with the blockade of Odesa ports, the Danube ports continue to operate. Over the past 5 days, the Danube infrastructure has been shelled 4 times, which leads to a rise in the cost of freight. Despite all this, Ukraine managed to export 2.6 million tons of agricultural products through the Danube ports in August, and total exports amounted to more than 4 million tons, which is a good performance. Thanks to the work of the Armed Forces, Ukraine still has a humanitarian corridor on the Black Sea. If this channel continues to develop positively, we will be able to export about 1 million tons through this route.  If the Danube stops flowing, it will be a very big loss for Ukraine, as the potential for exporting Ukrainian agricultural products via river ports is over 3 million tons. Alternative routes are railways and roads, but there are restrictions from the EU as well," said the UAC Deputy Chairman.

In his opinion, there is a possibility that Poland will unilaterally extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian products.

"On September 15, the EU will make a decision on import bans from Ukraine. There are no objective prerequisites for the bans, but politics can be a decisive factor.  In particular, after September 15, Poland plans to extend the bans and additionally impose an embargo on imports of honey and raspberries, which are traditionally specialized by Polish producers. Polish elections to the Sejm will be held in October, and since the support of the rural electorate is important for political forces, Poland may unilaterally extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian products. Despite the Ukrainian side's attempts to reach an agreement, the Polish position is quite resolute. Political forces are trying to get bonuses at the expense of Ukraine. Another alternative for Ukrainian exports is to use the ports of the Adriatic and Baltic, and the EU is expected to provide compensation for transportation costs of Ukrainian farmers," added Denys Marchuk.

Thursday, 7 September 2023


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