Ukraine 08/09 Grain Exports To Increase Almost Fivefold To 17-18 Million Tonnes

(Interfax News Agency) -- Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry has said that the country may export 17-18 million tonnes of grain during the current marketing year (July 2008 through June 2009). That's an increase of almost 500% from 2007/08 when the Ukraine exported just 3.7 million tonnes.

"The Agriculture Ministry believes that the overall supply for grain may reach 50 million tonnes in the 2008/2009 marketing year that will help not only cover the demand of the domestic market, but also allow 17-18 million tonnes to be exported," a source in the ministry told Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.

He said that the ministry had assessed the possible export of wheat at the level of up to 10 million tonnes during the current marketing year.

The source said that national consumption of food grain would amount to 7.2 million tonnes and 14.3 million tonnes would be used for fodder.

The Agriculture Ministry earlier forecast this year's grain harvest at the level of 40.4 million tonnes and grain export of 13.5-14 million tonnes in the 2008/2009 marketing year. However, follwoing better than anticipated yields, the ministry recently increased its forecast for gross grain output to 43 million tonnes.