KIEV (Reuters) — Ukraine’s agriculture ministry raised its forecast for this year’s grain harvest to an all-time high of 57.9 million tonnes and reported a brisker pace of exports at the start of the 2013-14 season.
The new forecast was significantly higher than the previous record of 56.7 million achieved in 2011 and was up from the earlier estimate on Aug. 1 of 57.1 million tonnes.
Agricultural minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said that 3.8 million tonnes of grain, including 1.4 million of wheat and 1.4 million of barley, had been exported since the beginning of the new season, which runs from July 2013 to the end of June 2014.
“That is 16 per cent higher than last year,” Prysyazhnyuk said.
The ex-Soviet republic, which ships to clients in North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has said it will pursue an aggressive export policy, because it expects the harvest and its exportable surplus to reach record volumes this season.
The ministry said 32.8 million tonnes of grain had already been harvested, not including corn as its harvest has barely started.
Prysyazhnyuk said on Aug. 1 that he expected Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest exporter of corn in 2012-13, to harvest 26 million tonnes of the crop in 2013 and to export no less than 16 million tonnes in the 2013-14 season.
That amounts to a significant increase over the 2012 harvest of 20.9 million tonnes and 2012-13 exports of 13.5 million.