Experts mention two factors behind buckwheat price hikes in Ukraine

Buckwheat price hikes in some cases go as high as UAH 45 per kilo with the average price being UAH 32.28 per kilo, as available stocks of up to 5,000 tonnes in warehouses (vs. 128,000 tonnes harvested last year) are being depleted while intermediary agents and retailers are engaged in speculative activity, according to the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation (UAC).
”UAC experts say there is no point getting into a panic for ordinary consumers. Two factors are behind the recent price growth: a reduction in the available stocks estimated at 5,000 tonnes as of April 1, 2016 – which is quite normal in view of the fact that the marketing year is about to end, and intermediary agents` speculative deals along with retailers` margins,” the statement reads.
The press service noted that the gross yield of buckwheat over the past five years more than halved to 128,000 tonnes in 2015 from 282,000 tonnes in 2011. The decrease was caused by a reduction in areas under this crop in a given period to 133,000 hectares from 311,000 hectares.
The UAC reports that imports of Ukrainian buckwheat in the past five years totaled 4,600-9,400 tonnes, accounting for 4% of the total annual yield of this crop in Ukraine. In most cases, buckwheat was shipped from Russia. In 2015, the imports fell by a quarter to 5,950 tonnes as compared to 2014. Buckwheat exports from Ukraine in the 2011-2015 period did not exceed 2,000 tonnes per year.
According to the report, some farmers have begun to expand areas under buckwheat crops in view of rising prices on the domestic market, as well as demand from foreign consumers. In addition, in some Ukrainian regions, local authorities are providing subsidies of UAH 500 per hectare to local buckwheat producers. As of May 13 this year, 76,000 hectares had been sown with the crop, which is higher by 29% year-over-year (54,000 hectares), accounting for 59% of the areas sown with this crop.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the planted areas under spring grain and leguminous crops were 6.6 million hectares as of May 13, accounting for 90% of the areas allocated for this crop.
Areas sown under agricultural crops for the 2016 harvest are estimated at 26.5 million hectares, corresponding to last year`s figure. Ukraine`s Agrarian Ministry forecasts that 14.4 million hectares will be sown with grain crops, accounting for 54% of overall planted areas.

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