EUROPE— The experts of the Copa-Cogeca working group met in Brussels this week and confirmed that EU-27 total oilseed crop production is forecast to reach 31.9m tons, which is a 6.7% increase on last year and protein crops are set to hit 3.92m tons, up 5.1% on 2021.

The higher EU-27 oilseeds output expected stems from a boost in planted area of almost 1m hectares compared to the previous season. Yields should also hold if weather conditions are favorable, said the specialists

Oilseed rape production recovered, with output at 19.5m tons. The Copa-Cogeca team said the positive result for that crop was due to an increase in the area cultivated but also good yields.

Even though the area under cultivation for sunflower was at a record level in the EU-27 in 2022, production only reached 9.6m tons, 7% lower than last year.

EU soybean production should remain stable as lower yield was compensated by additional planted hectares (+17.4%), continued the working group.

The EU-27 production of protein crops such as fava beans increased by 5% due to good harvests in the Scandinavian and Baltic states, they added.

“These projections should not make us forget the growing production difficulties,” said Pedro Gallardo, chairman of the oilseeds and protein crops working party.

The higher EU-27 oilseeds output expected stems from a boost in planted area of almost 1 million hectares compared to the previous season.

Production difficulties

Historic heatwaves and what the European Commission Joint Research Centre has warned could be the worst drought in 500 years are devastating agriculture across Europe.

As a result, total cereal production is expected to reach 269m tons, a 6.8% expected drop compared to the 2021 harvest. That is quite a significant decline, they said. 

The summer drought had a particularly severe impact on the harvest of corn (maize), according to the report. Production stands at 55m tons, down by 20% year-on-year.

Common wheat production is also set to see a decline of 2.5%, to reach 125.6m tons. However, the working group expects the production of barley to remain stable, with a harvest of 51m tons.

Fertilizer prices have also skyrocketed and remain volatile, and for some farmers, the high-priced or unavailable fertilizer will mean crops may not get as much nourishment this year. In turn, yields could be lower.

To ease the current food crisis, action needs to be taken now to maintain food production by making fertilizers more accessible and affordable.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE