Ukraine agricultural exports could rise to 4 million tonnes in August

Ukraine’s agricultural exports are likely to rise to about 4 million tonnes in August, from 3 million tonnes in July, thanks to the U.N.-brokered deal that unblocked Ukrainian sea ports, a deputy chair of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council said on Monday.

Denys Marchuk, whose organisation represents agricultural producers, told a televised briefing that despite new export opportunities, Ukrainian farmers would still face a shortage of funds and a third of them would not take part in 2022/23 winter grain sowing later this month.

Ukraine’s grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded the country and closed off its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

At the end of July three Black Sea ports were unblocked under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

But even with the ports opened, Ukraine’s agricultural exports are significantly lower than before the conflict, when Ukraine exported up to 6 million tonnes of grain a month.

Ukraine’s grain exports are down 51.6% year on year at 2.99 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season up to Aug. 19, the agriculture ministry said last week.

Grain exports for the 2021/22 season, which ended on June 30, rose 8.5% to 48.5 million tonnes thanks to strong shipments before Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

The government has said that 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.