Ukraine’s Barley Trade: Turkey on the Top


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Sep 27, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

In the lush terrains of Ukraine, the golden spears of barley sway to the rhythm of global demand. But why, you might wonder, does this seemingly humble grain draw our attention today? The answer lies in Ukraine’s pivotal role in the global barley trade. And, as 2023 has unfolded, some compelling dynamics are at play.

Ukraine Barley Landscape

Let’s begin our journey with a simple question: What makes Ukraine such a force in the barley sector? Located in the Black Sea region, Ukraine enjoys fertile soils and optimal climatic conditions for barley cultivation. Its geographical advantage and decades of farming expertise place Ukraine as a major player in the international barley market. However, as with every trade, there are factors and challenges that define its course.

Ukraine was forecast to produce over six million metric tons of barley in the marketing year 2022/2023, according to Statista. That would be 38.5 percent less than in the previous period. Over the observed time frame, Ukraine’s barley production peaked in the marketing year 2016/2017 at nearly 9.9 million metric tons.

As per to AgFlow data, Ukraine exported 1.1 million tons of Barley in Jan – Aug 2023. The top markets were Turkey (0.54 million tons), Spain (0.16 million tons), China (0.16 million tons), Tunisia (62,284 tons), and Egypt (53,100 tons). Average volume of shipments was 28,081 tons.

Ukraine's Barley Trade: Turkey on the Top

In 2023, up until August, several key influences have played a pivotal role in shaping Ukraine’s barley trade and exports:

  1. Environmental Concerns: Mother Nature, in her capriciousness, sometimes blesses Ukraine with bountiful harvests, and sometimes she’s less generous. This year, varying rainfall patterns affected the barley yield in certain regions. While some areas thrived, others faced diminished returns. Such fluctuations inevitably influence the supply side of the equation, nudging prices and trade dynamics in the process.
  2. Global Demand Patterns: A surge in global demand, especially from Asian nations, has had an impact. As economies rebuild and expand, there’s a growing appetite for Ukrainian barley. This uptick underscores the grain’s importance as a food source and a primary ingredient in the beer and whiskey industries.
  3. Trade Policies and Tariffs: International policies, sanctions, and tariffs continuously reshape the landscape. Certain trade agreements opened up new avenues for Ukraine’s barley this year, while others presented roadblocks. How does Ukraine navigate these waters? With meticulous planning and agile strategies. But it’s a delicate dance that requires balancing national interests with global partnerships.
  4. Technological Advancements: With AI and advanced analytics coming into play, Ukraine’s barley farmers now have sharper tools at their disposal. This means better yield predictions, efficient cultivation practices, and optimized supply chain management. However, while technology offers promise, its adoption comes with challenges in terms of investment and training.

So, what does this intricate web of factors mean for Ukraine’s barley trade?

Every grain of barley exported from Ukraine tells a tale of adaptation. In its resilience, the nation seeks equilibrium in a market rife with variables. Yet, herein lies the beauty. It’s a testament to Ukraine’s commitment to not just surviving but thriving in the global market, despite the odds.


When one thinks of Ukraine’s barley trade, it’s easy to envision vast fields under a golden sun. Yet, beyond this idyllic facade lies a complex, ever-evolving market landscape. As 2023 has shown us, Ukraine’s barley exports are influenced by myriad factors, from environmental challenges to geopolitical nuances. And as the nation navigates these complexities, it becomes evident that the dance of barley trade is a nuanced and intricate one.

As you sip on your barley-based beverage or munch on a barley snack, remember the tale of its journey – a journey of resilience, adaptation, and relentless pursuit of excellence. After all, isn’t that what makes every grain of Ukrainian barley truly special?

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