Grain traders in Ukraine signed an agreement controlling exports of wheat used to make flour as the country grapples with preserving food supplies in a worsening conflict with Russia.
Exports of 900,000 metric tons of milling wheat will be allowed in the first quarter, along with an additional 300,000 tons in the second quarter, Volodymyr Klymenko, the head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, said at a Jan. 27 press conference in Kiev. The figures are subject to change and may be increased if conditions are good for winter crops to be harvested next season, he said.
Ukraine, which is contending with violence from separatist rebels in its eastern regions, wants to stabilize the flow of exports and maintain sufficient stockpiles to offset rising food prices. The moves echo similiar actions in Russia, which will start taxing shipments next month as it copes with its own food inflation and a currency crisis. Both countries are major global wheat exporters.
Ukraine’s total exports of milling wheat for the season that started July 1 will be 7.1 million tons, while shipments of lower-grade grain for use in livestock feed will be 5.7 million tons, Klymenko said. Feed wheat exports from January through June may be about 3 million tons, he said.
Winter grain conditions so far are normal, Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Oleksiy Pavlenko said at the same event. Winter wheat in Ukraine is normally planted in August and September. Plants are dormant during cold-weather months and are harvested starting in July.