December 26, 2008
Ukraine is likely to harvest 45 million tonnes of grain next year, down 10 percent from a record 50-51 million tonnes in 2008, but still well above average levels, Economy Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn said on Thursday (Dec 25).
Danylyshyn did not explain his forecast, which was published on the ministry's website. Ukrainian agriculture officials have also declined to forecast next year's harvest, but analysts have put the figure at up to 37 million tonnes.
Earlier this month, Deputy Farm Minister Serhiy Melnyk said the 2009-grain sowing area is likely to remain at a high level of 15-15.4 million hectares despite that Ukraine was hurting from the financial crisis and had difficulties in securing loans.
Last month, the ministry said 8.1 million hectares of the 2009 winter grains had been sown, up 8 percent from the 2007-08 year.
The UkrAgroConsult said winter wheat area had declined to 6.3 million hectares from 6.9 million hectares, while rapeseed area fell to 1.3 million hectares from 1.6 million hectares.
The financial crisis is likely to reduce loans available to the sector, which could cause next year's crop to fall to 33-37 million tonnes, said UkrAgroConsult director Serhiy Feofilov.