Agriculture in UkraineAgriculture in Ukraine secures approximately 10-11% of national GDP and employs a quarter of working population. Ukraine has 42.8 m ha of agricultural land comprising 71% of the country’s total area, of which 32.5 m ha is arable (excl. pastures, grasslands, permanent plantings etc.). Ukraine has favorable climate for large-scale agriculture, rich agricultural soils and access to abundant land and water resources.
Currently, owners of land cannot sell it due to Moratorium on Sale of Agricultural Land. However, a draft law “On Turnover of Agricultural Land” has been already passed to the respective Verkhovna Rada Committee for further consideration. If the Law is adopted, it will open up a completely new market for investors. The price, according to experts, may range between$ 480 at its minimum and $6030 at its maximum per 1 ha.
Ukraine is richly endowed with chernozem (also known as “black soil”), one of the most fertile soils worldwide. Chernozem, a black-colored soil that contains a very high percentage of humus (3% to 15%) along with phosphoric acids, phosphorus and ammonia, occupies 41% of Ukraine’s total area and even more of its agricultural land (54%), and plow land (58%).
Thirty percent of the world's black soil is in Ukraine, and 42 million of the country's 60 million hectares (231,660 square miles) is agricultural land where wheat, barley, rapeseed and sunflowers grow in abundance. The crops constitute about 55% of the total agricultural output. Among the leading crops are wheat, maize, sunflowers, sugar beets, tobacco, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Livestock farming includes cattle, pigs, sheep, horses etc.
By virtue of its unspoiled soil, Ukraine is also emerging as a major producer of organic food. Already, hundreds of thousands of acres are devoted to organic farming and agricultural officials and outside experts believe that Ukraine can become a major exporter and help satisfy the increasing demand in Western Europe for such products.
Annual production of wheat in Ukraine is 15 to 22 million t. The entire cereal production reaches 90-100 mn t. Local needs, even if dramatically increased, take 35 to 40 mn t., making around 50-60 mn t. available for exports in the sphere of agriculture. Ukraine thus occupies sixth place on the world grain export market.
Most of the exported grain is destined for the countries of Middle East and North Africa. The local Ministry of Economic Development and Trade subjects export contracts for certain groups of agricultural products to registration. The key items exported from Ukraine are subjected to licensing and/or quotas where applicable and must be registered prior the export.
In 2016, Ukraine established itself as an export leader in several categories:
• 1st place in world export of sunflower oil, $4.8 billion (32% of total world export);
• 4th place in world export of barley, $653.4 million (8.5%);
• 4rd place in world export of maize, $2.4 billion (8.4%);
• 6th place in world export of wheat, $2.6 billion (7.2%);
• 7th place in world export of soybean, $645.3 million (1.3%).
The production of cereal and industrial crops tends to be the focal point for agricultural enterprises. Major cereal crops of grain markets in Ukraine incorporate winter wheat, spring barley and fodder maize. Winter wheat is the core crop for both private farms and agricultural enterprises.