Grain export restrictions ease, benefiting mystery firm most
Export curbs cost farmers an estimated $1 billion.
Ukrainian farmers and grain traders are celebrating because the government has relaxed export restrictions that threatened to cripple the country’s promising agriculture sector.
After weeks of wrangling, parliament passed a law on Oct. 7 removing export tariffs on wheat and corn exports.
Despite predictions of a bumper harvest of more than 50 million metric tons this year, the government had kept export restrictions in place. Farmers, who are among Ukraine’s poorest citizens, protested on Oct. 4 in Kyiv against the duties, saying they were damaging their livelihoods as they kept grain prices low and buyers in short supply.
Experts say the cancelling of export taxes – apart from a 14 percent duty on barley, which remains in place – is a boost for farmers and traders.
“The approved bill is highly positive for domestic agricultural producers and exporters,” said Tamara Levchenko, an analyst at Dragon Capital investment bank.
The new law is expected to be signed by the president in the coming days and will lead to the rise of domestic wheat prices by 5-10 percent and the rise of domestic corn prices by 10-15 percent, investment bank Renaissance Capital said in a report.