Harvest potential smaller by one third

Due to the war, it is highly likely that crop prospects will be significantly lower....
IMAGO / Panthermedia
Due to the war, it is highly likely that crop prospects will be significantly lower....

In the meantime, it is becoming increasingly clear to what extent the harvest in Ukraine is likely to shrink due to the consequences of the war. The willingness of farmers in the non-occupied territories is great to carry out the cultivation as completely as possible despite the difficult conditions.

However, according to Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky, field work is currently being slowed down by post-frost, lack of inputs, and regionally also mined terrain. ProAgro Group Deputy General Director Maria Kolesnyk expects that up to 30% of Ukraine's arable land will be out of production this year due to the war or, in the case of winter crops already sown, cannot be harvested. Against this background, the main harvest is likely to reach at best 70% of the "normal" level of previous years.

Kolesnyk advises concentrating available resources of fuel, seed, and fertilizer in non-contested regions so that a timely seeding campaign can be conducted there. In addition to the regional shortage of inputs, the ProAgro deputy director believes that the lack of skilled workers is one of the most pressing problems facing Ukrainian agriculture. In this context, however, the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that compulsory military service could be paused upon request in the event of indispensability on agricultural holdings.

Regardless of how the summer harvest turns out, however, Ukraine faces enormous problems even if the war ends soon, according to ProAgro market analysts. With the ports blocked or destroyed, it is completely unclear how the country will be able to export significant quantities of grain and oilseeds to other countries.

According to Volodymyr Lapa of the Ukrainian AgriBusiness Club, companies and the government are currently working feverishly on alternative transport routes. One possibility, he said, is to expand deliveries by rail to the west. However, the capacities there are foreseeably insufficient to compensate for the up to 5 million tons of grain or oilseed grains that would otherwise be exported by sea each month. Lapa estimates that a maximum of 1 million tons of goods can be shipped out of the country by rail. AgE