September 23, 2011


Ukraine revises grain harvest forecast to 53 million tonnes



Ukraine's 2011 grain harvest forecast rose by one to two million tonnes against the previous estimate of 51 million tonnes, First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuev said Thursday (Sep 22).


He told parliament they will harvest 52-53 million tonnes of grain in 2011.


According to Reuters, Farm Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said that a record corn harvest of about 20 million tonnes this month was the main reason for the bumper outlook.


In 2010, the ex-Soviet state harvested 39.2 million tonnes of grain, including 11.9 million of corn.


According to data provided by the agriculture ministry, farms harvested 36.5 million tonnes of grain from 77% of the sown area as of September 19.


The volume included about 22 million tonnes of wheat in clean weight. Ukraine harvested 16.8 million tonnes of wheat in 2010.


Independent analysts give lower projections than the government and forecast a harvest of about 46.8 million tonnes this year while weather forecasters expect the crops at about 46-46.5 million tonnes.


UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy said the 2011 grain harvest could include 20.6 million tonnes of wheat, 8.3 million of barley and 15.5 million of corn.


Officials and analysts say the jump in the harvest would in theory allow Ukraine to boost its grain exports to a record 24 million tonnes in the 2011/12 season (July-June) from 12.7 million in 2010/11, but high export duties have prevented a rise in shipments.


In July, the government introduced grain export duties to replace last year's export quotas, instituted to protect home markets after severe drought.


The export duty on wheat is 9% but no less than US$22.97 per tonne. The duty on barley is 14% and no less than US$31 per tonne. The export duty on corn is 12% and no less than US$27.03.


The curbs have already reduced Ukrainian grain exports this season and Prysyazhnyuk told Reuters on Thursday the export level of 24 million tonnes this season could not be achieved.


Prysyazhnyuk said they have to cancel the duties in the near future for it would be impossible to achieve export volume if duties remain.


But other ministries have opposed the measure, saying the budget will lose valuable revenues.


First Deputy Prime Minister Klyuev said the government could extend the duties until the end of the 2011/12 season.

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