Sugar refineries of the Astarta agricultural holding processed 1.844 million tonnes of sugar beet and produced 266,000 tonnes of sugar in 2021, which is 18% more than in 2020, the company said on Thursday.
“The organizational and technical measures carried out in the current season and the introduction of resource-saving technologies allowed Astarta to increase the energy efficiency of sugar production and reduce gas consumption for processing 1 tonne of beets by an average of 6% compared to 2020,” executive director of the company Valeriy Sokolenko said in a press release.
He added that in 2021, Hlobyne Sugar Refinery operated on biogas produced at company’s Hlobyne Bioenergy Complex from organic residues from sugar production (raw pulp).
Astarta also said that 99% of the produced sugar corresponds to the highest quality category, of which 53,000 tonnes are of extra quality.
Taking into account the processing of imported raw cane sugar, the agricultural holding’s total sugar production this year amounted to 339,000 tonnes, the press release says.
It indicates that the processing season lasted 100 days, the sugar content of raw materials remained at a high level and an average level for the holding’s enterprises amounted to 17.0% (on average in Ukraine, according to Ukrsugar, – 16.9%), and the sugar yield – 14.4% (14.2%).
Astarta recalled that in 2021, the holding’s enterprises harvested 1.584 million tonnes of sugar beet (yield – 47.4 tonnes/ha), 508,000 tonnes of corn (8.6 tonnes/ha), 94,500 tonnes of soybeans (3.0 tonnes/ha), 76,200 tonnes of sunflower (2.7 tonnes/ha), 268,000 tonnes of winter wheat (5.76 tonnes/ha) and 23,400 tonnes of winter rapeseed (3.24 tonnes per ha).
Astarta is a vertically integrated agro-industrial holding operating in eight regions of Ukraine.
Astarta, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, over January-June and April-June 2021 reduced sugar sales compared to the same periods in 2020 by 25%, to 55,460 tonnes and 113,600 tonnes, respectively, while over the first half and the second quarter, the products sold by it went up by 66%, to UAH 17,280 per tonne and UAH 16,690 per tonne, respectively.
According to the company’s report on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on Friday evening, sales of corn by the agricultural holding in the second quarter of 2021 fell by 21% compared to the second quarter of 2020, to 78,650 tonnes, while the price increased by 9%, to UAH 4,950 per tonne. In the first half of this year, its sales decreased by 55%, to 151,290 tonnes with a rise in price of corn by 17%, UAH 5,270 per tonne.
In addition, in the second quarter of 2021, Astarta sold 34% less soybean meal than in the second quarter of 2020 – some 23,750 tonnes (with a rise in price of 45%, to UAH 14,570 per tonne); 49% less soybean oil – 4,210 tonnes (its price has doubled to UAH 37,840 per tonne); 5% more milk – 23,650 tonnes (it has risen in price by 20%, to UAH 11,600 per tonne); and also twice as much wheat – 2,240 tonnes (it has risen in price by a quarter, to UAH 6,550 per tonne). During the specified period, the company has increased sales of sunflower seeds 4-fold, to 135 tonnes, with their rise in price 2.7 times, to UAH 19,180 per tonne.
According to the results of the first half of 2021, Astarta sold 23% less soybean meal than in the first half of 2020 – some 63,520 tonnes (with a rise in price of 59% to UAH 14,960 per tonne); 13% less soybean oil – 16,840 tonnes (with a rise in price by 76%, to UAH 31,580 per tonne); 4% more milk – 47,850 tonnes (it has risen in price by 17%, to UAH 11,680 per tonne); and also 37% more wheat – 6,070 tonnes (it has risen in price by 56%, to UAH 7,410 per tonne). During this period, the company increased sales of sunflower seeds 37 times, to 3,720 tonnes, with their price doubling to UAH 11,590 per tonne.
Astarta is a vertically integrated agro-industrial holding operating in eight regions of Ukraine. It includes eight sugar factories, agricultural enterprises with a land bank of 243,000 hectares and dairy farms with 25,000 animals, seven elevators, a biogas complex and a soybean processing plant in Poltava region (Globino Processing Plant LLC).
Lyst-Ruchky LLC (Ruchky village, Poltava region), part of Astarta agro-industrial holding, exported the first batch of organic soybeans under a contract with the German processing company Agriprotein GmbH, the agricultural holding’s press service reported.
“A supply contract of organic soybeans was concluded with the German processing company Agriprotein GmbH. As per contract, the quality of delivered products has to be confirmed in two stages. The first samples of soybeans were selected and tested by the European laboratory Galab (Germany) prior to signing a contract. The organic origin of the product and its high quality was confirmed. The second stage of the inspection took place upon delivery and organic status of soybeans was reaffirmed,” the company said on its website.
“As reported, last year Astarta completed a three-year journey to the first harvest of organic grain and oilseeds crops in sync with the European trend of expanding organic farming methods. In the 2021 season, the total area of the company’s land bank under organic products is 1,800 ha with the following crops: soybeans, millet, mustard, sunflower, corn and winter wheat,” the report says.
“The company also plans to certify this crops according to Bio Suisse (Switzerland) and USDA NOP (USA) standards,” it said.
As reported, Lyst-Ruchky in July 2020 received a certificate of a manufacturer of organic products. To confirm this status, it took three years of work in a transitional period, the corresponding intermediate inspections and certifications.
ASTARTA expands its product range and launches a pilot project on invert sugar syrup production. The initial batch is scheduled for August 2021.
The process of technological reequipment of the enterprise has already started. A special processing line will be installed at the Novoorzhytskiy sugar factory in the first half of July. The total investments are UAH0.5m.
– The main consumers of the first batch of inverted syrup will be Ukrainian beekeepers. This product can be used as feeding during the overwintering of bee colonies and helps to increase their productivity. It will also allow beekeepers to increase efficiency in their apiaries, introduce modern technologies and maintain a leading position in honey production in the world, – said project manager Ivan Chepak.
Invert sugar syrup is in demand with the confectionery industry as well. Therefore, in case of successful implementation of the pilot project, ASTARTA plans to increase the production of invert syrup and expand the marketing capabilities.
Thus, forming the added value of its products, ASTARTA increases the volume of products with a higher degree of processing, creates efficient production with a closed technological cycle and performs technical and technological reequipment of its enterprises.
Astarta agricultural holding started to produce sugar at Yareskivsky sugar plant (Yaresky village, Poltava region) from sugar imported under the tariff quota [which is 260,000 tonnes in 2021], the company said on the website.
According to the agricultural holding, it has contracted 60,000 tonnes of raw materials for processing over the next three months.
Astarta said that in 2021 there is an unstable situation in the sugar market caused by the rise in world prices for raw materials, in particular, for sugar, as well as the uncertainty of market participants in a sufficient amount of sugar in the internal market.
The company said, due to the processing of sugar from imported sugar cane, it intends to create a reserve volume of sugar to ensure food security and stabilize sugar prices in Ukraine.
According to Astarta, such a step will help the agricultural holding to prevent the occurrence of force majeure, as it was in September 2020, when there was a temporary deficit due to the exhaustion of sugar trade reserves in Ukraine. The market was also affected by the delayed start of the new sugar-making season due to unfavorable weather conditions, the lowest sugar beet yield in the last few years (42.5 tonnes per hectare and its sugar content (16.14%)). All these factors contributed to the rise in prices and led to the fact that the AMCU started to investigate the situation on the sugar market.
The agricultural holding said that it considers it inexpedient to import raw cane sugar in the 2021/2022 marketing year (September-August), since Ukrainian producers are able to fully provide the internal market with their own high-quality sugar from Ukrainian raw materials.
“The business philosophy of Astarta is based on the company’s constant presence in the market of goods and uniform sales of sugar throughout the year. Consumers and buyers are in the center of our attention. The company’s task is to ensure sustainable cooperation and supply of products exactly when they need it,” Director General of the company Viktor Ivanchyk said.
ASTARTA’s farming units started the new spring planting season.
The Company’s main crops are sugar beet (33.5kha), corn (59.9kha), soybeans (31.2kha), wheat (46.5kha), sunflower (28.1kha) and winter rapeseeds (7.2kha).
ASTARTA is also growing a mix of organic crops on 1.8kha.
ASTARTA is fully prepared for the new planting season 2021 and has a full stock of seeds, crop protection means, fertilizers. The Company uses both imported and domestic inputs. The key selection criteria are quality and support for local producers. Wheat and soybeans’ seeds are produced in-house under the brand ASTARTA Select.
The new John Deere tractors, purchased in 2020-2021 within the five-year investment programme aimed at upgrading its agricultural machinery, are already involved in the current planting.
The staff has been trained. All operations are performed with strict quarantine regulations and requirements.
Despite the later start of the planting due to colder weather conditions, all production operations will be performed within the required timeline.