KIEV (Reuters) — Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry has raised its forecast for grain exports in the current crop year to about 30 million tonnes from the previous outlook of 28 million tonnes, a senior ministry official said.
“We can export about 30 million tonnes and all our calculations confirm this figure,” Oleksander Demydov, head of the ministry’s planting department, said in a video posted on the ministry’s website.
Demydov said the results of an early grain harvest and favourable weather conditions had prompted the ministry to increase the export outlook.
“We have completed this year’s early grain threshing and will harvest about 31 million tonnes of early grains in clean weight,” Demydov said.
Wheat and barley account for more than 90 percent of Ukraine’s overall early grain harvest.
Agriculture minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said last week the former Soviet republic was likely to harvest 21.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2013 versus 15.8 million in 2012.
He also said that Ukraine could increase wheat exports to about nine million tonnes this season from seven million tonnes a season earlier.
Prysyazhnyuk has said that Ukraine also expected a record corn harvest in 2013 of 26 million tonnes, while other analysts see as much as 29 million tonnes. With local consumption of around 10 million tonnes that leaves plenty for export.
“We see that (corn) will account for a major part of our grain exports this season,” Demydov said.
He said that Ukraine was likely to export its grain to traditional consumers in the Middle East and North Africa but saw China as the top importer of Ukrainian-origin grain in the near future.
“China now is the most important (direction for exports). China could become the main country where we will export our grain,” Demydov said.
Ukraine said this month it would supply the first of its corn to the Chinese market in October-November under a $1.5 billion deal signed last year.
Ukraine also said it would be ready in the near future to supply wheat, barley and soybeans to the Chinese market after the two governments agree on all phytosanitary requirements.