KYIV, UKRAINE — Entering its second year of war, Ukraine’s grain exports have tumbled to 31.8 million tonnes, down 27% so far for the 2022-23 season as Russia’s invasion grinds down agricultural production and infrastructure that previously contributed substantially to world markets, Reuters reported, citing Feb. 27 agricultural ministry data.
The volume so far in the July to June season included about 11.2 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tonnes of corn and about 2 million tonnes of barley. Exports at the same stage of the previous season were almost 43.5 million tonnes. The ministry said grain exports so far in February had reached 4.7 million tonnes as of Feb. 27, down from 5.04 million tonnes in the same period last year.
Ukraine: Is the worst yet to come?
After an almost six-month blockade caused by Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July by the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal between Russia and Ukraine and brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
However, Ukraine has been adamant in accusing Russia of delaying inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian agricultural goods, leading to reduced shipments and financial losses. Ukraine appealed this month to the UN and Turkey to press Russia to bring inspections up to speed.
A major global grain grower and exporter, Ukraine’s grain output is likely to have dropped to about 54 million tonnes in clean weight in the 2022 calendar year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.