Record Agro LLC (Kyiv), the official distributor of the German breeding company Europlant, has resumed deliveries of high reproduction potato seeds from Germany to Ukraine, which were forced to stop with the start of the Russian military invasion.
On Tuesday, the website of the profile Ukrainian Association of Potato Producers (UAPC) reported on the import of the first batch of 22 tons of seed potatoes of the Bellarosa, Sanibel, Jeli, Vineta varieties.
“Potato seeds are categorized by the government as critical imports. There are no problems with its supplies. There are no queues at the border and customs,” Yuriy Dyak, director of Record Agro, is quoted in the message.
At the same time, it is specified that Ukrainian farms with the status of elite farms – certified seed enterprises – became the customers of the delivered batch. They will lay seed plantations in Ukraine for the 2023 harvest.
“We will be able to meet the needs of all elite farms in a very short time,” Dyak confirmed.
According to Record-Agro, at the moment the company is the only official importer of potato seeds in Ukraine, while the work of other seed farms is hampered by the military invasion of the aggressor country of the Russian Federation. The importer specified that Ukrainian farms are now growing seed potatoes from high reproductions purchased from European breeding companies in 2021.
As reported, by April 8, Ukraine had sown 1.07 million hectares of land with the main agricultural crops, which is 7.9% of the 13.44 million hectares planned for the current season, including 0.47 million ha. At the same time, 43.2 thousand hectares were sown with potatoes on the indicated date.
Over the past five years, the area sown with potatoes has increased by 2.7%, or 35,000 hectares, to 1.33 million hectares in 2020, the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB) has said.
According to a report on the association’s website, as of September 1, 2020, almost 14.825 million tonnes of potatoes were harvested from 948,700 hectares. Despite the large number of areas from which potatoes have already been harvested, the yield per hectare is low. For comparison, in 2018 the average yield in Ukraine was 16.76 tonnes per ha, in 2019 15.21 tonnes per ha, and in 2020 15.63 tonnes per ha.
“The relatively low yield of recent years is associated with unfavorable conditions in most regions of Ukraine from May to June. That is why there was a boom in potato imports in 2019. In 2019, potato imports amounted to 246,760 tonnes, which is almost 60 times more than it was in 2018, while exports decreased to 5,610 tonnes,” the UCAB said.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, as well as unfavorable weather conditions, potato imports were also at a fairly high level. So, according to the association, in the period of January-July 2020, potato imports amounted to 233,760 tonnes for a total of $51.26 million.
According to the UCAB, Belarus is the main country-supplier of potatoes to Ukraine, almost 55.7% of all imported potatoes (130,330 tonnes) for a total of $21.42 million. Also, the top five potato importers to Ukraine were: Russia – 42,470 tonnes ($7.23 million), the Netherlands – 31,220 tonnes ($11.97 million), Egypt – 8,930 tonnes ($2.81 million), Belgium – 8,150 tonnes ($2.77 million).
According to the State Customs Service, since July, Ukraine has hardly imported potatoes – $685,000 in July and $120,630 in August, respectively, the association said.
“At the same time, from July to September inclusive, the average price for potatoes is kept at the level of UAH 6-6.50. This gives reason to believe that this year there is more than enough potatoes on the Ukrainian market for domestic consumption and in the near future one should not expect an increase in prices,” the UCAB said.
The CFG/Mriya combined company has completed planting potatoes on an area of 2,000 ha in Ternopil and Lviv regions, plans to expand the areas with potatoes by 300-500 ha every year next two seasons.
According to a company report, CFG/Mriya also plans to buy equipment for modernization of potato storage facilities this year.
“Before the consolidation of CFG and MRIYA both companies successfully cultivated potatoes for a long time… both for food and for seed varieties. Therefore, for the combined CFG/MRIYA Company the growing of potato remains a strategic direction,” the company said.
CFG/Mriya has potato storage facilities with a capacity of above 87,000 tonnes, and a starch factory.
As reported, SALIC UK Ltd, the common investor in the merged business CFG/Mriya, plans to send over $50 million for boosting technical fleet in 2019.