Friday, 18 January 2013

Chinese Ukrainian agricultural cooperation

I've seen plenty of Chinese delegations whizzing in and out of Kyiv's top hotels over the last couple of years and it seems to be paying dividends.

Trade between the two countries now exceeds 10 billion usd.

China, the worlds largest consumer of corn is planning to buy 3.0mmt annually over the coming years. 

Well done Ukraine for securing a major buyer.

Seemingly China sees Ukraine as a strategically important partner in securing food supplies and has provided a 3 billion usd loan to help bring the countries farming up to scratch. 

I suspect the bulk of this wont end up anywhere near a farm and what does will be carved up by various agencies trying get a slice of the action.

Although 3 billion usd is not to be sniffed at, to keep it in context I estimate Ukraine needs about 50 billion usd in to farming alone plus further significant investment in agricultural education to update the workforce plus a large cash injection to improve research, plant breeding and animal genetics plus a further huge amount for infrastructure, transports, drying and storage and if there's anything left over something to rebrand Ukraine as an international food producer. 

Each journey starts with the first step.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

It's been snowing in England...

...and the BBC react as if it's the end of the world; cold weather warnings; ice warnings; how to drive in the snow; band of snow heads across the UK and those ubiquitous saccharine photos of snow covered Robins and Cathedrals.

Snow.  It's white. Its cold. It comes every winter to vast regions of the world. Millions of people live with it, sometimes people die of it, it looks nice because it covers up all the crap, it fills in the potholes making driving slightly more pleasurable if not slightly more dangerous. 

It's snow, it's not news unless it's a problem, man up BBC and get back to the job of reporting and not churning out pointless tosh.

Here's a photo of snow.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Ukraine to Canada

There are a lot of similarities between Ukraine and Canada, not least they are both massive and driving around is a test of endurance. 

The climate is not too different and the farming could learn a thing or two from each other.

My new pal Brian has a Farm Consultancy  business (Prairie Farm Consulting) in Canada on the Saskatchewan Manitoba border helping farmers manage their business by working out the true cost of production. 

Essential but often tedious when stuff needs to be done outside.

Check out the link for a full list of services and see if he can help you.

Ukraine increasing agricultural exports

Ukraine increased agricultural exports by nearly 40% in 2012 to 17 billion usd.

This included meat, fish, dairy, poultry, vegetables, veg oil, sugar, wine, nuts and apples as well as 6.7mmt of wheat.

Export destinations included the EU and CIS with Austria having a taste for Ukrainian apples; Poland unsurprisingly buying rye; Egypt and Spain are the largest buyers of Ukrainian wheat and Saudi Arabia taking three quarters of Ukrainian barley (I wonder what they do with that?).

Other interesting statistics from 2011 worth noting are Ukraine is still the top barley exporter (I think that might change this year); is the third largest maize supplier (second to US and Argentina); is the worlds largest sunflower exporter; is the fourth largest potato producer and is the worlds fifth largest walnut producer.

Russian 2012 grain crop update

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture peg the 2012 grain crop at 70.7mmt, down 25% from 94.2mmt a year ago.  They also suggest that quality might be up with 4.6% larger portion of milling wheat than in 2011.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Black sea crop condition

Official and unofficial crop condition reports from Ukraine are bullish with 90% plus of winter grains in the good to excellent category. 

Autumn rains helped establishment and those crops are now by and large safely tucked up under a blanket of snow.

A different situation is emerging further east in Russia. 

A recent and rapid drop in temperature has coincided with no snow cover in several grain growing regions. 

Low temperatures with little in the way of protective snow will result in higher than normal plant death and a corresponding drop in yield.

So in a nutshell; Ukraine is set for a bumper 2013 harvest and Russia is set for a catastrophic 2013 harvest.

But it is only January and there is a lot of season yet to go.