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May 29 2002, 14:31 APK-Inform

Official says hot temperatures killed at least 1.1mn hectares of grains in Ukraine. Do we believe it?

APK-Inform journalists reported that the Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, Mr. Ryzhuk informed about 1.1mn hectares of grains being killed by hot and dry weather. Crimea and eastern regions of Ukraine have been affected most. According to Mr. Ryzhuk's information, during the past 10 days topsoil temperature has varied from -5°C to +58°C. This will reportedly affect production of grains in the eastern regions of Ukraine by 25-30%, which is not a tragedy, according to the Minister, as production will still reach 36.6mn MT. He also reported that beneficial rains are expected in the affected regions.

In the meanwhile, according to UNIAN, Mr. Soroka, who is the head of crop produce markets department of the same Ministry, reported that only 0.5mn hectares have been killed and 1.5mn damaged.

Representatives of Hydro-Meteorological Center of Ukraine reported to APK-Inform that only about 0.3-0.4mn hectares of grains have been killed.

Where is the truth? We believe that total acreage lost was no more than 0.5mn hectares so far. APK-Inform has also revised its crop production forecast downward to 34.7mn MT, which is 2.1mn MT less than official forecast.

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