An agreement has not yet been reached between the EU states and Ukraine regarding agricultural imports. However, there are ongoing efforts to establish a mutually satisfactory arrangement in the near future.
Under optimal conditions, Ukraine’s sunflower seed production for this year is projected to reach approximately 14 million metric tons, as per the current estimates from the US Department of Agriculture. To date, 1.089 million hectares have been harvested, resulting in a yield of 2.375 million metric tons. This translates to an average yield of 2.18 metric tons per hectare.
According to industry insiders, Bulgaria has experienced a significant increase in yields compared to the early stages of the harvest. This development has bolstered Bulgaria’s decision to hold off on importing larger quantities of sunflower seeds from Ukraine, which would typically be the case. Bulgarian Prime Minister Mykola Denkov justified this choice by stating their intention to establish a quota before permitting any imports. Romania has also expressed a willingness to engage in such an agreement, and Poland appears open to compromise as well. These negotiations encompass four agricultural commodities (sunflower seeds, rapeseed, corn, and wheat) from Ukraine and involve five neighboring EU countries.
Meanwhile, Moldovan producers are pressing the government to enforce a ban on sunflower seed imports from Ukraine. They argue that these imports pose a threat to domestic prices, and the ban is intended to safeguard them from depreciation. Simultaneously, Vasyl Sharban, State Secretary at Moldova’s Ministry of Agriculture, refuted claims of sunflower seed imports from Ukraine. He stated, “We closely monitor these processes and have not observed any such imports. Traders justify their prices by citing fluctuations in sunflower oil prices, which is also a traded commodity and has seen price declines. It would be imprudent to impose a ban on imports that are non-existent.”
EU Trade Summary
As of July 1st, the EU trade data has commenced recording activities for the sunflower seed season of 2023/2024. During the initial three months of this new season (from 01/07 to 24/09/2023), the total sunflower seed imports from third countries amounted to 55,062 metric tons. This figure represents a considerable decrease compared to the same period in the previous year when imports reached 709,499 metric tons. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that these imports still exceed the volume recorded during the same period in 2021/2022, which stood at 41,976 metric tons.
The primary recipient countries within the EU during this timeframe were Romania (22,182 metric tons), Spain (7,653 metric tons), and Bulgaria (6,507 metric tons), followed by Portugal (4,216 metric tons) and Germany (3,660 metric tons). Moldova maintains its position as the leading third-country supplier to the EU, contributing approximately 55% of the total imports at 30,082 metric tons. This is followed by China (8,697 metric tons), Ukraine (8,686 metric tons), Türkiye (2,517 metric tons), and Argentina (2,457 metric tons).