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KYIV: Ukrainian farms have almost completed 2021 early spring grain sowing, seeding more than 1.9 million hectares of various crops as of May 13, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The area included 1.33 million hectares of barley, 229,600 hectares of peas, 186,800 hectares of oats and 174,700 hectares of spring wheat, the ministry said in a statement.

It said farmers had also sown 3.9 million hectares of corn, equating to 74% of the planned area.

The economy ministry has said that favourable weather could help Ukraine to harvest at least 75 million tonnes of grain this year, versus 65 million tonnes in 2020.

Scientists expect the harvest to reach up to 71 million tonnes.

The agriculture ministry said the overall grain area is likely to total 15.5 million hectares this year, including 7.6 million of spring grains.

The spring sowing area is expected to include 1.388 million hectares of barley, 176,600 hectares of wheat, 5.327 million hectares of corn, 194,050 hectares of oats and 235,400 hectares of peas.

The ministry said farms had also sown 4.6 million hectares of sunflower, equating to 72% of the expected area, and completed sugar beet sowing at 226,200 hectares.

The economy ministry has said that a drop in the sugar beet harvest had prompted the country to start raw cane sugar imports.

The ministry has said the 2021 area for sunflowers could total 6.4 million hectares, soy beans 1.4 million hectares and sugar beet 226,900 hectares.

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