KYIV – The pace of grain exports from Ukraine has risen so far in September but volumes are still well below last season’s levels, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports, a key route for shipments, were shut, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.
Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv that was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
The ministry’s data showed Ukraine exported 1.5 million tonnes of grain in the first 13 days of September, 34% less than the 2.3 million tonnes exported in the same period a year ago. The exports were 40% less in the first week of September.
The ministry gave no reason for the increase, but analysts say the reopened seaports have helped to boost the shipments from Ukraine.
Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Wednesday 134 cargo vessels with 3.1 million tonnes of various agricultural goods on board left Ukrainian ports under the grain deal.
The agriculture ministry data showed that Ukraine’s grain exports totalled 5.8 million tonnes so far in the 2022/23 July-June season, versus 10.9 million tonnes in the same period in 2021/22.
The data showed that exports so far in the July 2022 to June 2023 season included 3.4 million tonnes of corn, 1.83 million tonnes of wheat and 525,000 tonnes of barley.
The government has said Ukraine could harvest at least 50 million tonnes of grain this year, compared with a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower grain yields.