August 20, 2014
Ukraine's grain production to fall 15% in conflict zone
Ukraine's grain production is expected to decline by 15% in two violence-hit regions in the country's east, a spokesman for Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said.
The former Soviet republic was expected to be the world's second-largest grain exporter in the 2014/15 marketing year, but has suffered major disruption since a pro-Russian uprising broke out in its eastern region.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Yatseniuk as saying Ukraine would lose 15% of its grain harvest due to the fighting and Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula earlier this year.
Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry expects the 2014 grain harvest to exceed last year's record crop of 63 million tonnes. Analysts and traders have said Ukraine is likely to harvest around 60 million tonnes.
So far this year, Donetsk and Luhansk have harvested 2 million tonnes and 0.9 million tonnes, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Last year, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions harvested 2.2 million tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes of grains, respectively, according to official statistics.
A group of armed individuals occupied a Cargill Inc sunflower-seed crushing plant in the Donetsk region in July after it was closed due to the increased tensions in the area. A certain percentage of fields in these regions continue to be dangerous for harvesting.
Ukrainian farms harvested 34.7 million tonnes of grain in the whole country as of August 15, including 24.1 million tonnes of wheat and 9.3 million tonnes of barley, the Agriculture Ministry said.