It has been another strong year for sunflower production in the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova, with growers continuing to invest in new varieties and techniques to make the most of the natural advantages they have in growing the crop.
Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of sunflower seed. A crop of 14 million tonnes is expected from the 2017 harvest, with a yield of 2.1 tonnes/hectare. That production is a 230% increase in output over the last decade, with yields up 75% in that time. Around 85% of the 5.2 million tonnes of oil produced from the 2017 Ukrainian crop is due to be exported¹.
Bulgaria and Romania are the EU’s largest producers of sunflower seed. Predictions from the European Union show Bulgarian sunflower production is expected to top two million tonnes in 2017, a 24-year high and an increase of 16% compared to 2016. Sunflower yields have more than doubled in the last ten years, according to calculations by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The US Department of Agriculture expects Romanian sunflower production to also be near two million tonnes in 2017, with yields also doubling to nearly 2 tonnes/hectare².
Moldovan sunflower production is expected to fall a little from 750,000 tonnes in 2016 to 720,000 tonnes in 2017, due to a small reduction in the planted area. But over the last decade the area of sunflower grown in Moldova tripled to more than 500,000 hectares, while yields have doubled.³
All four countries have rich agricultural land, with the Ukraine home to around a third of the world’s most fertile black soils that allow a large range of crops to be grown successfully. The average Bulgarian and Romanian farms are amongst the smallest in the EU, but that masks the development of larger more commercial units that grow crops for consumption at home and for export. Using the latest hybrid technology and growing techniques on these larger farms across the region will allow many growers to achieve yields and quality that matches output in Western Europe and North America. With their abundance or rich farmland, the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova are in a good position to supply European and global markets with premium quality confection and low linoleic and high oleic sunflowers.
As the demand for food grows around the world, the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova are in a good position to supply global markets with sunflower and other crops.