Donau Soja: Ukraine is most important European soya supplier for EU’s livestock industry

25 April, 2024

EU soya area is increasing but delayed EUDR implementation poses a threat to soya cultivation in Europe

Vienna. Ukraine is the biggest and most important European soya supplier for animal feed of the EU’s livestock industry. The soya cultivation area there could expand to 2.2 million hectares in 2024, which is a plus of nearly 20% compared to last year. The soya output could reach as much as 5.5 million tonnes in 2024, depending on the weather conditions. Also the soya area in the EU is projected to grow by up to 10% to an all-time high of up to 1.15 million hectares. These numbers were presented in the new April edition of market report by Donau Soja, published today. “We need Ukrainian Donau Soja certified soya in the EU to fill the so-called protein gap with deforestation-free and GMO-free soya, compliant with the new EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which is supposed to enter into application at the end of December 2024. Currently, the EU’s soya self-sufficiency rate is only 8%, posing a threat to the EU’s food security. Donau Soja certified soya imported from Ukraine and certified soya grown in the EU are produced under the same requirements, hence providing a level playing field for soya farmer in the EU and outside the EU”, said Susanne Fromwald, General Secretary of Donau Soja.

Positive trends and outlook for 2024
The positive soya forecast for 2024 has several reasons. Experts of Donau Soja expect that higher market prices and margins of soybeans in comparison to other crops make soya cultivation more attractive to farmers in this season. The current relatively high prices for fertiliser and energy also encourage farmers to sow more soya, which is a less energy-intense crop. Furthermore, the rainy autumn in October to December 2023 drove farmers to shift some of their planting from winter crops to spring crops. Finally, Donau Soja expects a growing demand for deforestation- and GMO-free and regional soya supply because of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). The new EU regulation is expected to increase the competitiveness of European soya in comparison to Brazilian soya with a higher deforestation- and conversion risk. Companies start looking for solutions for proven deforestation-free soya. “On the other hand, a delayed implementation of the EUDR might also jeopardize the European soya production in 2025. There is still a danger of a dropdown in soya cultivation for the harvest in the next year because of unclarity and insecurity of the details and the process of the implementation of the regulation. We urgently ask the European Commission to get the EUDR information system operational and link it to existing (national) agricultural and traceability systems. Farmers, processors and the retail industry need legal clarity and no double or over-bureaucracy”, warns Fromwald.

European soya protects ecosystems in overseas
The total production of soya is expected to be around 397 million tonnes globally in 2024. The EU imports about 35 million tonnes of soya every year. The biggest amount of these imports is non-certified soya from overseas countries like Brazil, where important ecosystems such as the tropical savannahs Cerrado and El Chaco in Paraguay and Argentina are under pressure of deforestation, degradation and conversion. “With increased support and usage of European soya, we can reduce the pressure on these valuable ecosystems”, Fromwald said.

Note for journalists: For obtaining the new April edition of Donau Soja Market Report as background information, please send an email (the report will not be published publicly).
Link to Donau Soja Market Report on this website
Link to Donau Soja Market Report cover
Link to chart Ukraine
Link to chart EU

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About donau soja

Donau Soja is a non-profit, independent association who supports its partners and members in progressing change to address social, environmental, and economic challenges in soya, legumes and protein production and consumption. This will increase efficiency, fairness and sustainability in European food and feed protein value chains. Donau Soja is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).