KYIV, UKRAINE —With its wheat harvest 91% complete, Ukraine has produced 17.4 million tonnes so far this year as the war with Russia continues to rage in the eastern and southern parts of the country, Reuters reported on Aug. 18, citing information from the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA).
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture is projecting Ukraine’s 2022-23 wheat harvest to reach 19.5 million tonnes, well below last year’s output of 33 million tonnes. It estimates Ukraine will harvest 5.2 million hectares of wheat, compared with 7.4 million hectares in 2021-22.
The war, which began on Feb. 24, halted Ukraine’s grain exports, including wheat, for five months due to a Russian naval blockade, but an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in late July has allowed grain shipments to resume in recent weeks. More than 560,000 tonnes were exported from Aug. 1 through Aug. 15, but only a small percentage of that total was wheat, according to the Joint Coordination Centre that is overseeing the exporting process.
With only a limited amount of wheat being shipped from Ukraine, wheat prices rose to near-record highs and food insecurity soared in developing countries, particularly those that typically import most of their wheat from Ukraine. Prices have dropped significantly since the Black Sea ports reopened but food insecurity remains an issue in many countries.
The UGA estimates Ukraine’s overall grains and oilseeds harvest total at 25.7 million tonnes thus far, Reuters reported. Last year, Ukraine produced a record 86 million tonnes but the UGA projects the 2022-23 harvest only will reach 65 million to 67 million tonnes due to the war.