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Ukraine's 2023 wheat crop seen falling to 15 million tons, agrarian council says

KYIV, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Ukraine's 2023 wheat sowing area may fall by 30% to 40% due to lack of funds, and the harvest is unlikely to exceed 15 million tonnes, a deputy chair of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council said on Thursday.

Ukraine, a global major wheat grower and exporter, harvested 19 million tonnes in 2022 and 32.2 million tonnes in 2021.

Denys Marchuk, whose organisation represents agricultural producers, told Reuters the wheat yield in 2023 could stay a relatively low level of 4 tonnes per hectares due to a possible decrease in fertiliser use.

Agriculture minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters this week the winter wheat area sown for the 2023 harvest will fall by at least 20% from 2022, to around 3.8 million hectares, due to the Russian invasion.

Russia calls its action in Ukraine a "special military operation".

Ukraine sowed around 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area was occupied during the invasion.

Only around 4.6 million hectares of wheat will be harvested in Ukrainian-controlled territory, agriculture ministry data showed.

Farmers had harvested 18.8 million tonnes of wheat in bunker weight from 4.6 million hectares as of Aug. 26 and the yield averaged 4.08 tonnes per hectare, the data showed.

Ukraine has said its 2022 grain harvest could fall to around 50 million tonnes from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021 due to the war. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Jason Neely)

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