Source: EU Commission
Source: EU Commission

Rapeseed imports to the European Union (EU) in the first quarter of the current crop year were lower than in the same period of the previous year, according to a report by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP).

The ending of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and a ban on imports of Ukrainian goods by neighbouring EU countries were impacting the sector, the 26 October report said.

Since the beginning of the crop year, rapeseed imports to EU-27 states totalled 1.23M tonnes, which was down just less than 38% on the same period of the previous year.

Ukraine remained the most important country of origin, with exports totalling 683,000 tonnes (1 July-15 October) and a 55% share of imports.

According to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI), EU imports are set to fall well below last year’s total of 1.3M tonnes due to Russia's withdrawal from the BSGI in mid-July.

Since then, Ukrainian goods have had to be exported via alternative routes such as road, rail or the Danube River leading to a significant increase in freight charges, the report said.

Although alternative routes were expanding, the import ban imposed by some EU countries was holding back deliveries.

After Ukraine, Australia was the second leading rapeseed exporter to the EU in the period.

Australian rapeseed exports fluctuate seasonally but during the period imports dropped by more than half to 283,000 tonnes, meaning the country supplied 23% of EU rapeseed imports during that time.

With 181,716 tonnes of deliveries, Moldova was the third leading rapeseed exporter. Shipments from the country quadrupled compared to the same period of the previous year.

As Moldova’s domestic production of rapeseed amounted to only 65,000 tonnes, it was likely that most of its exports originated in Ukraine, the report said. In this way, Ukraine was able to circumvent the EU neighbouring countries’ ban on its imports.