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The European Union (EU) imported around 1.3M tonnes of rapeseed in the first 15 weeks of the 2021/22 season, a fall of 43% compared to the same period the previous year, according to a report by the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) on 27 October.

The imports also represented a 75% drop over 2019/20, the report said, with the fluctuations due to both EU rapeseed output and the availability of rapeseed globally.

The EU’s rapeseed crop was expected to reach 16.9M tonnes in the current marketing year, according to analysis by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft, which at just less than a year-on-year rise of 0.8M tonnes, would not be sufficient to cover demand.

German oil mills processed more than 9M tonnes of rapeseed, according to the report.

The EU Commission has estimated additional import demand for 2021/22 at 5.7M tonnes, the report said, which would be around 150,000 tonnes less than the recorded 2020/21 figure.

However, the availability of rapeseed on the global market was severely limited due to considerable harvest losses in Canada, the main rapeseed supplier, the report said.

For this reason, the market has had to rely on Australian rapeseed from the beginning of the season, according to the report, while it was typically a guarantor of rapeseed deliveries in the second half of the year.

The UK, which was still a member of the EU at the same time the previous year, was also sourcing imports from third countries, the report said.

Some deliveries from Ukraine, where the harvest was larger, have also filled the gap, UFOP said.

However, rapeseed deliveries from Ukraine were down 37% year-on-year, according to the report, with the shortfall only partly offset by larger deliveries from Moldova and Serbia.