An increase in Russian sunflower exports since the beginning of the 2019/20 season is eating into Ukraine’s share in major importing countries including India and China, AgriCensus reported on 12 June.

The stronger position of Russian exports in the global market was due to increased availability following a huge sunflowerseed crop and better quality following the adoption of improved production technologies by crushing plants.

Sunflower exports from Russia were expected to hit a record 3.1M tonnes in 2019/20 – a 15% year-on-year increase – following a bumper crop of 15.3M tonnes.

“Russian sunflower oil share in India’s imports have increased drastically this year to 24%, and it is competing very strongly with the Ukrainian origin,” Sandeep Bajora, CEO at Sunvin Group, said at an online conference organised by APK-Inform Agency.

According to official data, Russia’s sunflower oil shipments to India totalled over 431,000 tonnes by mid-May – making India the country’s second largest market.

It is a similar picture in China, AgriCensus said. Since the beginning of the 2019/20 marketing year, the country’s share of Russian sunflower exports had tripled from 6% to 18% with 466,000 tonnes shipped by mid-May, making China the largest importer of Russian sunflower oil.

The expansion of Russian sunflower oil exports to India and China was affecting Ukraine, which remained the world’s largest sunflower oil exporter with a 57% share of global exports in the current season, equivalent to 6.4M tonnes.

Although Ukraine was expected to maintain its position as the biggest supplier to India with 1.7M tonnes of Ukrainian sunflower oil to be supplied this season, ‘its market share is expected to reduce to 63%, while several years ago it was 90%’ Bajora added.

India’s share of Ukrainian sunflower oil exports had also fallen in the first nine months of the season to 29% from 35% the previous year, while China’s share had increased from 10% to 14%.