ROME, ITALY — About 4.5 million tonnes of grain is stuck in Ukraine as the ongoing war with Russia prevents safe shipping to the country’s ports, adding to a “global food crisis,” according to a UN World Food Programme (WFP) official, Business Insider reported, citing German news agency DPA.

Ukraine is an important exporter of grains such as wheat and corn, accounting for 12% and 17% of global supply, respectively. Prices of the commodities have surged in the wake of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, as the war curtails production and export of the grains, with blocked shipping routes proving a major obstacle.

According to NATO, floating mines have been found and deactivated in the western Black Sea by authorities of countries that border the waterway. NATO also said that “threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping” in parts of the Black Sea remains high.

“Food needs to get to the trapped and suffering people in Ukraine, but equally it needs to get out of the region and into the world to alleviate a global food crisis,” Martin Frick, Germany director of the UN World Food Programme, told DPA

Plans are underway to develop a “grain bridge” for blocked supplies of grain to be exported out the country through trains instead of the sea, which would involve the cooperation of Ukrainian Railways and its neighboring countries, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

For more coverage of the Ukraine conflict’s impact on grain markets, click here.