Ukraine’s food exports by the numbers

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Spencer Feingold, Digital Editor, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum


  • Ukraine is one of the world’s top exporters of staple grains.
  • Russia’s invasion has significantly hindered Ukraine’s agricultural sector, threatening food security worldwide.
  • Here’s a look at its top agricultural exports, based on data from the US Department of Agriculture.

A Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Saturday drew immediate outrage from Kyiv and countries around the world.

Governments and observers said the attack casts doubt over a landmark agreement that was set to facilitate agricultural exports from key Black Sea ports like Odesa. In particular, the United Nations-brokered deal—signed by Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, Türkiye, on Friday—was set to allow for vital wheat and grain exports to resume, a move proponents say will help alleviate the worldwide food crisis.

“These products are desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that “unequivocally” condemned the Russian strike.

Often called the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine boasts roughly 42 million hectares of agricultural land and is home to vast quantities of black “chernozem” soil, which is highly fertile.

In 2021, Ukraine’s agricultural exports totaled over $27 billion, accounting for 41% of the country’s overall exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Specifically, the country is a major producer and exporter of staple grains—vital commodities for the international food system. In fact, the World Food Program, which is the United Nations’ humanitarian food-assistance organization, gets 40% of its wheat from Ukraine.

Here’s a look at its top agricultural exports, based on data from the US Department of Agriculture.

Ukraine’s top agricultural exports (2021):

Sunflower oil

  • Total exports: $6.4 billion
  • Volume: 4,950,000 metric tons (2021-2022 market year)
  • Percent of global exports: 46%
  • Rank among global exporters: 1st
  • Top markets: India, the European Union and China.

Corn

  • Total exports: $5.9 billion
  • Volume: 23,000,000 metric tons (2021-2022 market year)
  • Percent of global exports: 12%
  • Rank among global exporters: 4th
  • Top markets: China, the European Union, Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

Wheat

  • Total exports: $5.1 billion
  • Volume: 19,000,000 metric tons (2021-2022 market year)
  • Percent of global exports: 9%
  • Rank among global exporters: 5th
  • Top markets: Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Image: World Economic Forum

Rapeseed

  • Total exports: $1.7 billion
  • Volume: 2,700,000 metric tons (2021-2022 market year)
  • Percent of global exports: 20%
  • Rank among global exporters: 3rd
  • Top markets: the European Union, Pakistan and the United Kingdom

Barley

  • Total exports: $1.3 billion
  • Volume: 5,800,000 metric tons (2021-2022 market year)
  • Percent of global exports: 17%
  • Rank among global exporters: 3rd
  • Top markets: China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

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