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Ukraine wheat deficit expected

Another Eastern European wheat deficit is on the cards.

According to Dr Dawson, an autumn drought in Ukraine will lead to 40pc of the crops having to be replanted in the coming spring. The last time this happened, it caused a spike in world grain prices.

Through a company called Continental Farmers Group plc, Dr Dawson is involved with a tillage farming venture in north-west Ukraine, which extends to 30,000ha. This is leased from the owners at an average rental of about €70/ha and used to grow potatoes, sugar beet and oilseed rape cereals. The soil in this region is ideal for cropping as it is fertile and free of stones.

The Ukrainian venture for Continental Farmers seems to be going well. Latest accounts show a profit of more than €6m and the company has had a successful share placing on the London Stock Exchange.

The company is also involved in a crop energy/food project in Cuba. Dr Dawson sees Cuba as having huge potential.

Fidel Castro's brother Raul, who is now in charge, has opened the country to bring in foreign agri expertise to solve the country's food and energy deficits. Its agriculture sector is woefully run down and the country is overrun with the woody Marabu weed tree, but Cuba has excellent soils and climate, and is open for business.

Indo Farming