Ukraine 2014 grain harvest to fall nine percent: analyst

KIEV (Reuters) — Ukraine’s grain harvest is likely to fall to 57.3 million tonnes this year from around 63 million tonnes in 2013, an analyst said on Tuesday.

Lower lending from banks and their refusal to provide forward funding has led to a smaller sowing area, which will be the main reason for a fall in grain output, APK-Inform analyst Rodion Rybchinsky said.

“We expect a decline in the yields of almost all crops,” he said.

Rybchinsky said the Ukrainian wheat harvest could total 19.2 million tonnes in 2014 versus 22.3 million tonnes in 2013. The maize crop could fall to 29 million tonnes from 30.9 million tonnes last year.

He said the estimates did not include output in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, seized by Russia this month.

Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said this week farms had sown 3.7 million acres of early spring grain as of March 24, or 52 percent of the expected sowing area.

Some analysts said last week that up to 20 percent of Ukrainian arable land might not be sown this year, mainly because of financing difficulties arising from the country’s economic and political problems.