Ukraine's ag commodities export kept record-high in 2020

In the calendar year (CY) 2020, Ukraine, despite extensive international trade restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the coronavirus pandemic, not only managed to sustain high positions in the world rankings of exporters of certain agri-food products, but also took the lead in export volumes of oilseed meal and cake, millet, barley, honey, rapeseed, and other agricultural products, the National Scientific Center Institute of Agrarian Economics reports.

According to Bohdan Dukhnytskyi, senior research associate of the Agricultural Production Economy and International Integration Department of the Institute, Ukraine traditionally leads in the exports of sunflower oil. Last CY, shipment of the product reached a record 6.86 mln t. Besides, by increasing sales of oilseed meal and cake (produced mainly from sunflower) from 4.96 mln t in 2019 to 5.52 mln t (+11%) in 2020, Ukraine became the top exporter of these products on the international market.

"Ukraine also topped the world ranking of millet exporters, having more than doubled the supply last year, up to 116 thou. t. The country has become the second-largest exporter of barley, honey, and rapeseed, solidifying its presence on the world barley and rapeseed markets. Through the increase in barley exports to 5.05 mln t (+22%), Ukraine retained the second position in the ranking," comments Bohdan Dukhnytskyi.

According to the expert, the domestic exporters made a remarkable leap up – from fourth to second position – in honey exports in CY 2020. The country boosted its sales to the world markets by 45% to 81,000 t compared to 2019, second only to China, which sold 132,000 t of honey last year.

Bohdan Dukhnytskyi noted that despite the reduction in rapeseed exports to 2.38 mln t (25%), in CY 2020 Ukraine managed to stay the second-largest supplier, far behind Canada (11.78 mln t). In addition, exports of fresh or chilled peas continued their decline in CY 2020, from 49,000 t in 2019 to 18,000 t in 2020. As a result, Ukraine dropped from second to the third position, swapping positions with Guatemala.

Ukraine shipped EUR 6 bln worth of products to the EU in 2020, the expert adds. However, due to changes in European statistics as a result of the UK's exit from the EU, which with EUR 15.5 bln immediately topped the ranking of suppliers of agri-food products to the Union, Ukraine moved from its traditional third place to the fourth. Brazil (EUR 11.3 bln) and the US (EUR 9.6 bln) stayed ahead of Ukraine.

"If there are no sudden restrictions and bans on global trade in CY 2021, Ukraine has a very good opportunity to consolidate and strengthen its position in target foreign markets, including in relation to the overall and itemized rankings of the largest food exporters," projects Bohdan Dukhnytskyi.

Previously reported that the EU imported 1.48 mln t of Ukrainian sunflower oil in the period July 1, 2020–June 27, 2021.

In the 2020/21 season, grains and oilseeds export from Ukraine totalled 48.8 mln t.

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