Ukraine expects record maize harvest, rising sales to China

Pavel Polityuk July 31, 2018

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s maize harvest may hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year and sales to China could rise by 10 percent due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, the country’s acting agriculture minister said.

Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

China has accused the United States of triggering the “largest-scale trade war” with import duties, potentially giving a further boost to already booming grain and oilseed exports from the Black Sea region.

“For some positions, such as soybean, we will get an increase in exports to new markets,” Maksym Martyniuk told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Ukraine has exported 2.6 million tonnes of maize to China so far in the 2017/18 September-August season, out of total sales of 16.6 million tonnes.


“Maize will traditionally go to China. We can increase (maize) exports to China by up to 10 percent,” Martyniuk said, adding that maize could hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year, compared with 24.1 million tonnes in 2017.

Weather conditions have favored crops sown late in the season this year and a strong maize crop may compensate for a drop in the 2018 wheat harvest, which is likely to decrease by 12-16 percent to 22-23 million tonnes due to poor weather.

Drought during the spring and torrential rains in summer have affected Ukrainian winter crops, raising concerns on a possible decrease in the harvest and its quality.

“Due to weather conditions, we will have a minus in winter crops, from rapeseed to winter wheat,” Martyniuk said.

“But the condition of late crops such as soybeans and maize is excellent and without extreme weather they will give an increase in comparison with last year, he said.

Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

He said Ukraine might harvest at least 60 million tonnes of grain this year, versus 61.3 million a year earlier.


Martyniuk said the weather was favorable for the sunflower harvest and Ukraine, the global leading sunflower oil exporter, was likely to harvest 13.3 million tonnes of sunseed this year, the second highest harvest since 1991.

Ukraine harvested 61.3 million tonnes of grain in 2017, with most wheat harvested in Ukraine’s central and southern regions.

Martyniuk said recent rains across most Ukrainian regions had partially affected the quality of wheat, but it was too early to give an exact proportion.

“In the central and western parts of Ukraine almost all harvested wheat is forage class while in the southern regions there are no problems with quality and some regions managed to thresh wheat before the rains,” he said, adding it was not clear yet exactly how much milling wheat would be harvested.

Ukraine has harvested 17 million tonnes of wheat from 76 percent of the sowing area so far and market sources said around 10 million tonnes of the harvested wheat is milling wheat.

But Martyniuk forecast a possible deficit of wheat seeds for the forthcoming sowing, without giving any details.

Martyniuk said Ukraine was likely to keep its grain exports at last’s season level of around 40 million tonnes and had already shipped abroad 1.5 million tonnes of various grains.

Ukraine exported 39.4 million tonnes of grain in the 2017/18 season which runs from July to June, this included 17.2 million tonnes of wheat and 17.8 million of maize.

Editing by Matthias Williams and Alexander Smith

Source: Reuters “Ukraine expects record maize harvest, rising sales to China”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Loss of Chinese Market, World Market Share, Permanent Harm to the US

Reuters’ report “Trump says China is ‘vicious,’ using U.S. farmers as trade pawns” shows that Trump is upset that China’s retaliation of tariff hikes hit US farmers hard. He has to provide $12 billion to help US farmers and made EU to buy more US soyabean.

With developed agriculture EU is America’s competitor in the world agricultural market. In addition, there are underdeveloped parts in EU with potential to increase farm production. Therefore, EU may only absorb a limited part of US surplus soyabean but is far from being able replace China in absorbing $13 billion soyabean that China would stop purchase from the US due to the trade war.

The US shall be clear that it is utterly impossible to find a market sufficiently large in the world to replace Chinese market, which has world largest population with increasingly greater demand for farm products as Chinese economy and people keeps on growing richer.

On the Chinese side, the trade war makes China realize the urgency of agricultural development for food self-sufficiency in case of war or serious natural disaster.

China has to speed up its project to divert water from Tibet to Xinjiang to convert its vast desert there into rich farm land. That will increase China’s farm land by at least 330,000 square kilometers through conversion of desert. It will enable China not only to put an end to most of its imports of farm products but also grab from the US share of world agricultural market.

It will be a lethal way that benefits China while “killing” the enemy in the trade war.

In a war one has to be vicious instead of kind. Are Trump’s tariff hikes that may cause Chinese enterprises to bankrupt not vicious?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at