Sunflowerseed exports from Ukraine have reached record levels due to lower demand from domestic crushers and reduced prices prompting traders to increase exports, AgriCensus wrote on 18 May.

Ukraine exported 140,071 tonnes of sunflowerseeds from 1 May-15 May, bringing total exports since the beginning of the marketing year to a record 311,711 tonnes, according to customs statistics.

This figure was already almost 39% higher than sunflower exports in the 2020/21 season, the report said.

However, the volumes reported by customs did not reflect exact volumes transported, AgriCensus wrote, with lengthy queues at the borders and along the Danube River delaying delivery.

“How many will go for export - I can’t guess, the queues at the borders are long,” one Ukrainian-based trader told AgriCensus.

According to market estimates, the main buyers of sunflowerseeds include Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, which reflects the geography of buyers in previous seasons.

Ukraine was currently transporting the bulk of its sunflowerseed exports by truck, ferry, train and ship.

According to the customs statistics service, as of 16 May, 35% of sunflowerseeds were exported by trucks, 7% by rail, with 21% and 38% by sea and ferry, respectively.

Sunflower exports from Ukraine had been slower previously with monthly shipments ranging from 2,500 tonnes-69,000 tonnes, AgriCensus wrote.

Market participants forecast that active sunflowerseed exports from Ukraine would last on average for a month before the first batches of the new rapeseed crop in the European Union entered the market, the report said.

Sunflowerseed exports from Ukraine would total around 350,000 tonnes by the end of the 2021/22 season, according to USDA expectations.