Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What the buckwheat?

I probably have better things to do than writing about Ukraine’s buckwheat crop but I find it oddly fascinating.

To recap, a couple of weeks back Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture held a conference call with all his regional Heads of Administration and instructed them to instruct farmers to plant an additional 50,000ha of the crop.

When that failed he went on to instruct the PJSC Agrarian Fund to forward buy buckwheat in an attempt stimulate farmers to plant more crop.

On the face of it this seems to have worked as plantings have increased from 118kha to 125kha with one dutiful comrade reporting he plans to sow a further 16.7kha before the season is out.

Actually what probably happened is the regional Heads shouted and threatened farmers into getting their drills out again.

Yesterday the Ministry announced on its website plans to initiate a state support programme to increase the area of buckwheat plantings which, in their words, every year due to low profitability, declines.

Wouldn't it be better to let it decline which would then increase the price which would then stimulate farmers in to planting more and presumably find some sort of market balance or am I oversimplifying farming?

Over the last couple of weeks buckwheat has featured prominently on the agenda of the Minister of Agriculture who seems to have taken a personal interest in micro-managing the crop.

I would have thought that given the current situation in Ukraine he would have other priorities over planting buckwheat which only seems to be a problem in the minds of the Ministry who keep telling everyone it’s a problem.

No doubt the saga will continue.