Ukraine is sometimes referred to as “the breadbasket of Europe” and with good reason because food production is a significant sector of the Ukrainian economy.
In 2021, Ukrainian food exports totalled $27.8 billion, accounting for 41 per cent of the country’s $68 billion in overall exports.
With hundreds of thousands of acres of rich agricultural land, Ukraine is normally the world’s top producer of sunflower meal, oil, and seed.
The Russian invasion in February 2022 caused massive disruption to the economy of Ukraine, with the country now even more dependent on food exports.
Indeed, in 2023, food exports had risen to 60 per cent of the overall Ukrainian export total.
What are the main Ukraine food exports?
Ukraine boasts around 42 million hectares of rich agricultural land.
It’s home to vast swathes of highly fertile black “chernozem” soil. This rich, well-farmed, productive land produces huge quantities of seeds and grains, which are sold as primary products and finished goods such as sunflower oil.
It is one of the world’s top exporters of staple grains.
According to data published by the World Economic Forum, in 2021/22 Ukraine exported 4,950,000 metric tons of sunflower oil, making it the country’s biggest export and the largest exporter of the product in the world.
India, the EU, and China were the three biggest importers of Ukrainian sunflower oil.
The second largest Ukraine food export is corn. In 2021/22 this totalled 23,000,000 metric tons, making it the world’s fourth largest exporter of the grain. The largest markets for Ukrainian corn were China, the EU, Turkey and Iran.
Wheat is Ukraine’s third largest export, producing 19,000 metric tons that are exported to Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It is the 5th largest exporter of wheat globally.
How much of the world’s food does Ukraine produce?
Due to its rich agricultural land and well-developed farming sectors, Ukraine produces a significant amount of the world’s food.
Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was well placed geographically to ship food around the world, primarily from Black Sea ports.
Because it has traditionally been able to produce large quantities of grains at relatively low prices, it has always been a substantial contributor to food supplies in parts of the developing world.
Crucially, Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest producers of staple grains. This is one reason why the Russian invasion has had such a significant impact on global food prices.
Ukraine alone produces a staggering 46 per cent of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. The country accounts for 12 per cent of global corn production and nine per cent of the world’s wheat production.
Rapeseed and barley are also significant Ukrainian contributions to the world food supply, making up 20 and 17 per cent respectively.
Food production makes up a significant contribution to the Ukrainian economy.
Ensuring that staple grains can get to market, despite the military conflict with Russia, has been a key priority for the global community.
What food does the UK import from Ukraine?
While not being one of Ukraine’s biggest markets, the UK does import a range of foods from the country.
In 2022, the UK imported $150.65m in cereals, $150.16m in animal fats, and $108.30m of oil seed, grain, and fruit.
As Ukraine looks to integrate further into the Western economy, there is every chance that imports to the UK could increase following a cessation of hostilities.
Import and exports services from SSO International Forwarding
Logistics companies play a key role in ensuring that global food supplies keep flowing to key markets.
At SSO International Forwarding, we work with our clients to overcome logistical challenges and to ensure that goods get to their destination safely and on time.
We are a trusted partner for UK food import and export businesses, working with a growing number of businesses of different sizes to help them expand into new markets
We make it possible for you to import and export food products with ease.