Ukraine faces grain harvest storage crunch as exports struggle – Reuters

A driver unloads a truck at a grain store during barley harvesting in the village of Zhovtneve, Ukraine, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
KYIV, May 3 (Reuters) – Ukraine is forecast to have a significant shortage of storing facilities in the 2022/23 season due to a sharp fall in exports resulting from Russia's invasion, analyst APK-Inform said.
Since Moscow launched what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February, the country has been forced to export grain by train over its western border or from its small Danube river ports rather than by sea.
APK-Inform said on Tuesday that Ukraine's exports could total only 45.5 million tonnes of 2021's record harvest of 86 million tonnes and grain and oilseeds stocks at the end of the current season might reach an all-time 21.3 million tonne high.
"This volume is 4.2 times higher than in the previous season and will not allow to release a significant share of storing capacities for the new harvest," it added.
Ukraine is usually a major global grain and oilseed grower, but its exports have fallen sharply. The agriculture ministry said last week it had exported 763,000 tonnes of grain in the first 29 days of April versus 2.8 million tonnes in April 2021.
APK-Inform said in a report that Ukraine could harvest 55.9 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds in 2022 and the shortage capacity could total 16.3 million tonnes.
State statistics office data shows that Ukraine's total storage capacity is 75 million tonnes, which includes 44.5 million tonnes held by agricultural producers.
But the consultancy said that some of this capacity is located in the area of conflict and this reduces the available volume to around 61 million tonnes, meaning that 35% of its capacity is already taken up by the 2021 harvest.
"At the same time, the pace of the sowing campaign and weather conditions contribute to increasing the forecasts of grain and oilseeds production in Ukraine, which will further complicate the situation without proper sale of existing reserves," APK-Inform said.
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