KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukraine has exported 148,000 tonnes of grain in the first five days of June, pushing its July to June 2021-22 marketing year total to 47.2 million tonnes, the country’s agriculture ministry said on June 6, Reuters reported.

The ministry said the total volume included 18.578 million tonnes of wheat, 22.4 million tonnes of corn and 5.7 million tonnes of barley, with corn shipments dominating the June start, Reuters reported.

Ukraine exported up to 6 million tonnes of grain a month before Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24, but in recent months the volumes have fallen to about 1 million tonnes, sparking global grain shortage concerns and price spikes. Ukraine reached 54.9 million tonnes of wheat, corn and barley exports in 2019-2020, but dipped to 44.9 million tonnes in 2020-21, mostly on lower wheat production, according to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Feb. 1 Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) quarterly report. Before Russia's invasion, Ukraine had been projected to export 63.7 million tonnes of the grains in 2021-22.

Ukraine, a major agricultural producer that is among the world’s largest corn and wheat exporters, used to ship most of its goods through seaports but has been forced by Russia’s invasion and blockade to export by train via its western border or via its small Danube river ports.

Agriculture and transport officials have said that Ukraine aims to boost export capacity at Danube river ports, which would allow grain to be shipped to Romanian Black Sea ports. The EU also has pledged to create more avenues for Ukraine to export its grain, while Turkey has been working with Russia to increase Ukraine's grain exports.