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335182

Ukraine will avoid potato shortage this winter despite war - ministry

KYIV, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Ukraine will not face a shortage of potatoes this winter despite its refusal to import from Russia and Belarus, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

Ukraine traditionally imports some potatoes from the two neighbouring states but it halted all supplies after the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. Belarus has been Moscow's main ally in the conflict, allowing Russian forces to use its territory to attack Ukraine.

The ministry said in a statement around 12 million tonnes of potatoes had already been harvested as of Oct. 25, or 73% of an expected harvest of around 16.6 million tonnes. It gave no data for the 2021 harvest.

It said the 2022 area sown to potatoes had fallen by 36% due to hostilities in many regions.

"We have a sufficient amount of this product, which fully satisfies domestic consumption and food security. There will be no shortage of potatoes," the ministry said.

Potatoes are the most widely consumed vegetables in Ukraine. Almost all potatoes in Ukraine are harvested by small households. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Gareth Jones)

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