Ukraine military successes may widen winter sowing area- farm ministry

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FILE PHOTO: Ear of wheat is seen in a field in the village of Zhurivka

KYIV (Reuters) - The successes of the Ukrainian army, which has liberated a significant territory in the northeast and south of Ukraine, may improve the forecasts of the winter sowing area for the 2023 grain crop, a deputy agriculture minister said on Wednesday.

Ukrainian forces liberated most of the Kharkiv region and some areas in the south during successful counteroffensive actions in recent days.

Ukrainian farmers have already started winter sowing and the ministry says the sowing area could fall by 35% this year to around 4.7 million hectares due to the Russian invasion. Farms sow winter wheat, winter barley, rape and rye.

"Regarding the liberation of Ukrainian territories from occupation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we have reasonable optimism that this forecast of 4.7 million hectares will improve," Markiyan Dmytrasevych said.

The ministry said on Tuesday farms in almost all regions had started sowing winter wheat for the 2023 harvest, seeding 141,000 hectares, or 3.5% of the expected area.

Minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters last month that the winter wheat area could fall to 3.8 million hectares from 4.6 million a year earlier due to the Russian invasion.

Farmers had already sown 7,100 hectares of winter barley, or 1.1% of the expected area, and 5,400 hectares of rye, the ministry said.

It said farmers had sown 841,000 hectares of winter rapeseed, 87% of the forecast.

Ukraine harvested 19 million tonnes of wheat this year compared with around 32.2 million tonnes in 2021. Hostilities in many regions and the occupation of large areas by Russia accounted for the decline.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Bernadette Baum)