zernoexport.com The National Association of Sugar Producers of Ukraine (NASU) Ukrtsukor says the areas under sugar beet crops in 2019 may shrink by a quarter compared with 2018, to 205,000-210,000 hectares (ha). "According to our forecasts and raw material zones mapped by sugar refineries for the current season, the acreage will be 205,000-210,000 ha. Of course, estimates may change after the completion of the sowing campaign in the [country&#39;s] central and northern regions, or in the case of plant death or non-emergence of seeds," the Association&#39;s press service quoted NASU&#39;s commodity markets analyst Vasyl Dolynsky as saying on April 23. Read alsoUkrainian refineries produce over 1 mln tonnes of sugar since Aug 30 At the same time, the expert forecasts the 2019 season will be one of the most difficult for the Ukrainian sugar industry in the past decade. The sugar beet sowing campaign was to be completed around April 20, because the relatively warm end of March and wet soil forced farmers to start sowing beets early. Last year, as of April 23, 2018, only half of the planned area had been sown, the press service added. Four Ukrainian regions are leading in sowing sugar beet crops this year: Vinnytsia region (21.8%), Khmelnytsky region (13.9%), Poltava region (11.9%), and Ternopil region (10.8 %). The expert also added that areas under sugar beet crops had grown in Zhytomyr, Lviv and Volyn regions. At the same time, the areas under the crops shrank the most in Vinnytsia region (about 12,000 ha), in Kharkiv and Poltava regions (about 13,000-15,000 ha), in Kyiv, Cherkasy and Kirovohrad regions (11,000-12,000 ha), as well as in Ternopil and Khmelnytsky regions (10,000 ha). As UNIAN reported, Ukrainian farmers started sowing sugar beet crops on March 28, 2019. The Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry said sugar beet crops had been sown on 202,000 ha as of April 22. Ukrainian enterprises boosted sugar production by 6.5% during the sugar refining season of MY 2017-2018, to 2.14 million tonnes.