15:47 Sep. 1, 2016
From agricultural collapse to global powerhouse, the country is on course to register record grain production numbers
Ukraine's grain harvest in 2016 is forecast to exceed previous records. This is a considerable achievement considering that seeded areas across Ukraine are down about 2.5 million acres due to conflict and occupation in the south-east of the country and Crimea.
According to the latest figures from Ukragroconsult, this year's grain harvest is expected to exceed 60m tonnes.
Oilseeds are also expected to perform well this season with an expected yield of 17m tonnes (13.5m tonnes of sunflower seed, up 15pc, soybean harvest is static at 4m tonnes, and rape seed back 34pc at 1.2m tonnes).
Ukraine is now a top-three global exporter of agricultural commodities, with 34.8m tonnes exported last year. Agriculture production accounts for 16pc of Ukrainian GDP and the sector provides jobs for 3.5m people. Twenty six of the largest 100 Ukrainian companies are in the agricultural sector.
It is easy to see why Ukraine has long been known as the breadbasket of Europe. The country has over 100m acres of agriculture land, over 75m acres is classified as arable land. This arable area is close to one-third of the equivalent arable coverage within the EU.
Ukraine's legendary agricultural capability is aided by the fact that it holds one-third of the world's fertile 'chernozem' soils. This black coloured soil contains up to 15pc of humus. The thickness of this soil layer runs as deep as 1.5 metres in parts of Ukraine. Accompanying good soil is adequate precipitation, a long growing season and enough heat to grow everything from subtropical to continental crops.