Ukraine targets three million tonnes of maize sales to China

Ukraine, which hopes to produce more maize in 2012, plans to sell about 3 million tonnes to top consumer China, which has not so far been a market for Ukrainian grain, farm minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said. “We want to export the first 3 million tonnes of corn to China in the 2012/13 season,” Prysyazhnyuk told reporters on Friday.

“It is so important for us to export corn to China. We have increased the area sown for corn by 1.0 million hectares and expect a good harvest and large exports,” he said. Prysyazhnyuk told Reuters last week that Kiev hoped to secure a quarantine agreement with China to gain access to its huge market late this year.

Prysyazhnyuk said two state-run organisations – the Agrarian Fund and grain firm UPZK – could supply maize to China. Ukraine raised maize production to a record 22.7 million tonnes in 2011 from an average 5 million to 6 million in the past 10 years and the former Soviet republic plans to harvest about 25 million tonnes in 2012.

According to the Farm Ministry data, farmers had sown 4.5 million hectares to maize in 2012 against 3.5 million in 2011. UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy said this week it forecast the harvest at 21.25 million tonnes this year. The consultancy said yields could be 5.0 tonnes per hectare in 2012, the same as in 2011. It said a jump in the harvest would allow Ukraine to increase maize exports in the 2011/12 season to about 12 million tonnes and to at least 14 million tonnes in 2012/13. Ukraine exported 5.0 million tonnes of maize in 2010/11.

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