14 Feb 2023 14:11

Ukraine to cut cultivated areas by nearly a quarter this year - Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 14 (Interfax) - The areas under crops in Ukraine will be reduced in 2023 by 7 million hectares (ha) to 22 million ha from 29 million ha, or by 24.1% compared to the pre-crisis figures, Ukrainian media said citing remarks that Igor Vishtak, director of the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry's Agrarian Development Department, made at a discussion panel at the Ukraina Media Center on Tuesday.

Ukraine intends to considerably change the structure of its cultivated lands this year in favor of oil-bearing crops, and the fact that it had to reduce the volume of fertilizers applied will directly affect this year's gross harvest, Vishtak said.

"Of course, we will have enough of all types of food for domestic consumption, but our export capacity is expected to change. In particular, we'll sow far less corn, which is one of our key export grain crops," Vishtak said.

The government will focus on supporting smallholdings, Vishtak said. To this end, it is working on continuing a program of subsidizing them per hectare of cultivated land and per head of livestock, which is important, in particular, because most of small farms grow vegetables that are in short supply on the domestic market, he said.

The government envisioned over 16 billion hryvni for lending in the 2023 budget, including 9.6 billion hryvni particularly for financing agricultural producers, which would allow for extending some of last year's loans and offering new loans for the sowing campaign.

As reported earlier, Ukrainian agricultural producers sowed winter grain crops on 4.5 million ha at the end of last year, including wheat on 3.8 million ha, barley on 613,000 ha, and rye on 79,200 ha. Ukraine also sowed winter rapeseed on 999,000 ha, or 104% of the previously planned area.

Thus, Ukraine sowed winter grain and oil-bearing crops on 5.5 million ha, or 62% of the previous year's area.

In 2021, Ukraine sowed winter crops on 8.87 million ha, including wheat on 6.66 million ha, barley on 1.02 million ha, rye on 160,600 ha, and rapeseed on 1.03 million ha.