On October 5, President Viktor Yushchenko appointed Yuri Melnyk as the deputy prime minister for agriculture, creating a new position in the government that is aimed at developing the agriculture sector, Ukrainian Journal reported.

The appointment comes amid signs that Ukraine’s agriculture sector is facing a serious problem due to persistent dry weather that is likely to reduce plantings under winter grain crops.

The plantings are likely to drop to 3.5 million hectares for grain to be harvested June-August 2006, down from 6.3 million hectares the previous season, according to the ag ministry.

The winter grains are usually responsible for the biggest grain yields and such a significant reduction of the planting suggests that Ukraine’s grain output may fall in 2006.

Melnyk is a professional agriculture sector manager that has been on leading positions in the agriculture ministry since 1996. Melnyk will supervise the sector, but also Oleksandr Baranivkiy, the agriculture minister and an activist at the Socialist Party, who pursues more of a leftist policy.


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