KYIV, UKRAINE — Grain exports from Ukraine for the 2022-23 season are down nearly 18% to 36.9 million tonnes as of March 27, due to a smaller harvest and ongoing difficulties caused by Russia’s invasion, Reuters reported, citing agriculture ministry data.

During the same period last year, Ukraine had exported 44.8 million tonnes of grain.

Exports so far in the July-June season included 12.6 million tonnes of wheat, 21.7 million tonnes of corn and 2.27 million tonnes of barley.

Following a nearly six-month blockade caused by Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were able to restart shipments under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The Black Sea Grain Initiative recently was extended 60 days to May 18.

Ukraine is a major grain grower and exporter, with expected production of 53 million tonnes in 2022, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.

Government officials said Ukraine can harvest 44.3 million tonnes of grain, including 16.6 million tonnes of wheat, in 2023.