GIEWS Country Brief: Ukraine : 13-October-2021

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  • Cereal output forecast at all‑time high level in 2021

  • Record cereal exports forecast in 2021/22

  • Export and domestic prices of wheat and maize well above year‑earlier levels in September 2021

  • About 3.4 million people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance, of which 1.5 million in need of food and livelihood assistance

Cereal output forecast at all‑time high level in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 winter cereal crops, mainly wheat, finalized in August, while harvesting of maize is ongoing and is expected to be completed in mid‑November. Harvesting of other spring cereals (mainly barley), planted between April and June, finished in September.

The 2021 wheat output is estimated at a record high of 31.5 million tonnes, about 20 percent above the five‑year average, due to large plantings and favourable weather conditions during the season. Barley production is set at 9.5 million tonnes, about 15 percent above average. Output of maize is tentatively forecast at a bumper level of about 38 million tonnes due to an above‑average area planted, supported by high international maize prices.

Total 2021 cereal output, including winter and spring crops, is expected at about 80.8 million tonnes, an all‑time high level.

Planting of 2022 winter cereals is ongoing and harvesting is expected to begin in July next year. The total area sown with winter cereals is forecast at about 8 million hectares, slightly above the average level.

Record cereal exports forecast in 2021/22

Total cereal exports in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June) are projected at about 58 million tonnes, over 20 percent above the five‑year average volume and an all‑time high. Owing to sustained demand by importing countries and the expectation of a large wheat output in 2021, wheat shipments are forecast at a record level of 21.5 million tonnes. Similarly, maize exports are forecast at 31 million, the highest historical level, reflecting the country’s already ample supplies and the expected 2021 bumper harvest.

Export and domestic prices of wheat and maize well above year‑earlier levels in September 2021

Export prices of milling wheat, after showing an overall declining trend between February and July 2021, increased in August and September, mirroring the trend of other export quotations. The strengthening of international prices was mostly in response to the worsening of 2021 wheat production prospects in some major exporting countries, particularly in the United States of America, Canada, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, due to unfavourable weather conditions. In the country, the latest price increases were supported also by the expectation of a below‑average quality of the grain. In September 2021, wheat export prices in Ukraine were over 30 percent above their levels a year before.

After increasing sharply between August 2020 and February 2021, amid shrinking availabilities of milling quality wheat, domestic wholesale prices of wheat followed an overall declining trend until July. Prices increased again in the following two months and, in September, they were about 20 percent higher year on year.

Export prices of maize, mainly used for animal feed, increased between December 2020 and May 2021, amid strong demand by importing countries and in line with international market trends, reaching the highest levels since January 2013. Although prices have declined since June, in September, they were about 40 percent above the levels of a year earlier.

Domestic wholesale prices of maize peaked in May 2021 and declined afterwards, although remaining at very high levels, mirroring trends in the export market.

High prices of maize have reportedly contributed to rising production costs in the livestock sector, both at domestic and regional levels.

About 3.4 million people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance

The civil conflict, which began in April 2014 in the eastern part of the country, had a severe negative impact on the food security situation of the people residing in both sides of the “line of contact” that separates the non‑government controlled area (NGCA) and the government controlled area (GCA) and caused the displacement of about 1.5 million people . In addition, the measures adopted to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic had a strong socio‑economic impact, especially on the elderly, which account for 37 percent of the total population in need.

Since the outbreak of the COVID‑19 pandemic in mid‑March 2020, the five crossing points along the “line of contact” have been closed. Despite the re‑opening of two of them in June 2020, the number of people crossing the “line of contact” each month is well below pre‑pandemic levels.

People residing in the NGCA are particularly affected by the closing of the checkpoints, as they need to cross the “line of contact” to access their means of livelihood, and social and financial services, including for the withdrawal of their pensions, in the GCA.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 3.4 million people, 8 percent of the total population, are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021. About 1.67 million people in need reside in the NGCA, while 1.7 million are in the GCA, including 343 000 IDPs. Out of the total 3.4 million people, an estimated 1.52 million are in need of food and livelihood assistance in the conflict‑affected areas. About 40 percent of them have needs related to food insecurity.