German imports of oilseeds from Ukraine down 49%
The war in Ukraine has limited the country's export opportunities significantly, but not all commodities from the 2021 crop came to Germany in lower quantities because of this.
Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, in particular the blockage of Black Sea ports, has capped export volumes noticeably. In particular, bulk commodities such as wheat and rapeseed, of which millions of metric tons are normally exported, have been leaving the country only sporadically since the beginning of the war, according to research conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH).
According to recent information published by the German Federal Statistical Office, Germany imported around 113,768 tons of oilseed crops from Ukraine in the first four months of this year. This was down nearly 49 percent on the period January through April 2021.
The sharpest decline was recorded for rapeseed shipments. At 56,579 tons, they were nearly 72 percent short of the previous year’s volume. However, in previous years, Ukraine’s share in German rapeseed imports for processing was comparatively low at 10 percent.
Also, Ukraine delivered around 53,815 tons of maize to Germany in the first four months, which was 46 percent less than in the 2021 reference period.
The picture was different for products of which smaller batches had generally been exported already in the past. More specifically, the amount of GMO-free soybeans Germany received directly from Ukraine between January and April almost tripled to 51,707 tons in 2022.
Contrary to what some market participants feared, shipments of sunflower oil, which amounted to 43,261 tons, also exceeded the previous year’s volume of 36,942 tons by 17 percent.
The Union zur Förderung von Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP) believes that considerable losses could be possible in the imminent harvest.
Although a large part of the Ukrainian cropland could be kept under cultivation, many crops could not be fertilized and maintained on schedule or sufficiently.
Some regions are experiencing a shortage of diesel fuel and also storage facilities, because last year’s crop could not be marketed.
The UFOP has therefore welcomed the multiple initiatives of the trading sector and EU member states to provide support within the scope of possibilities, even though in terms quantity, exports transported by freight trains can by no means replace exports by ships.
It remains to be seen whether, and to what extent, the land can be harvested and tilled for the next sowings as usual.
The UFOP is therefore watching the rapeseed harvests in Canada and other countries with some anticipation as to the extent to which they can offset the likely absence of supply from Ukraine. This question also applies to all oilseeds, sunflower oil and wheat.