Ukrainian peas: how production changed during the full-scale invasion

Source:  UkrAgroConsult

As of early May, 128.6 thousand hectares of peas have already been sown in Ukraine, which is almost 100 thousand tons less than it was at the same period in prewar 2021, however, slightly more than last year. Because of the full-scale war, Ukraine lost significant areas of pea crops, which led to significant losses of this crop. We are talking about the regions that were the leaders-producers of peas: Nikolayev, Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Kharkiv. The last harvest of this crop in Ukraine was half as much as before the war in 2021 and amounted to only 270 thousand tons. In general, this is the lowest figure for the past 10 years. In 2017, for example, pea production in Ukraine amounted to 1 million tons, it was one of the most productive years, according to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy.

On the world map, Ukraine stood next to pea leaders: Canada, Russia, China, India, Australia, Kazakhstan. For example, the production of this culture in Canada in 2022 was 3.4 million tons, in Russia – 3.6 million tons. The latter increased its figure the year before last year due to the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are talking about the same Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Kherson regions.

If in 2021 Zaporizhzhya had collected 63.5 thousand tons of peas, then in 2022 this indicator was zero. The same goes for Kherson and Donetsk region, where there were gathered 16,9 thousand tons and 22,4 thousand tons of peas in the prewar year, respectively, and in 2022 there was zero.

Production of peas decreased significantly because of the fighting in Mykolayiv region: instead of 22.4 thousand tons, as it was in 2021, 14.9 thousand tons were harvested there. There is a similar story in Kharkiv region: the yield of this crop decreased by 9 tons – down to 10.9 tons.

Until 2019, the main importer of Ukrainian peas was India. This country imported in different years from 385 thousand tons to 149 thousand tons. However, after 2019, due to low domestic prices for leguminous crops, India established a number of restrictive measures and as of 2022 reached full self-sufficiency in this crop in accordance with its own needs of 1 million tons.

Currently, the possibility of exporting Ukrainian peas to China is being actively discussed. Last month there were negotiations between the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, representatives of the competent authority of China General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China (GACC), State Service of Ukraine for the Protection of Consumer Rights and the Ukrainian Embassy in China. Therefore, Ukrainian pea producers may soon have an opportunity to export peas to China.

The pea market has been developing rapidly in recent years. The proof is that last year the global pea protein market, according to Research and Markets, reached $1683 mln. It is predicted to grow further and may reach $5086.9 mln by 2028.

The development of this crop in the world is due to several factors. First, the pea protein extracted from peas is a type of high quality protein and is considerably more useful than soybean protein. Therefore, it has been actively used in the food industry and for the production of feed. For Ukraine, this is a good signal to increase the area of pea crops with subsequent processing and creation of added value where climatic conditions allow it.

Secondly, peas have a very positive effect on soil fertility by fixing nitrogen in it, and therefore, the successors in the crop rotation will require less nitrogen fertilizer, which makes their production cheaper, especially in the current context of rising fertilizer costs.

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