The walnut production area in Ukraine is forecast to reach 18.9 thousand hectares (ha) for MY2019/20, one percent above the 18.7 thousand ha harvested in MY 2018/19. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU) data, the growth of production area was achieved through an influx of new commercial orchard planting, overriding the retirement of older, Soviet-era orchards. Similarly, yields from newly planted varieties, managed with improved production technologies using irrigation, fertilizers, pest and disease control, has offset the declines in production resulting from scaling down old walnut orchards.
The majority of all walnuts harvested in Ukraine are produced by small private family farms that harvest trees growing on their land plots or in the vicinity of their farms. This category of producers is not typically concerned with the application of fertilizers and agrochemicals and uses manual labor for harvesting and shelling of the walnuts. Harvested walnuts are typically sold to intermediaries, who assemble batches designated for export.
The walnut production area farmed in this manner has decreased in the last several years. In 2016, over 84 percent of total walnut production area was done on small private family farms. In 2018, these farms represented 72 percent of total walnut production area. Post predicts this downward trend in family farms will continue in the medium to long-term due to a growing interest in commercial production. However, it should be noted that family farms still enjoy a dominant position in terms of production volumes as they hold an absolute majority of the bearing trees.