GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Ukraine’s corn and wheat exports are both projected to fall in marketing year 2023-24 amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, Reuters reported, citing the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA).

Nikolay Gorbachov, president of the UGA, said the corn harvest is forecast to fall to 21.1 million tonnes, down from 27.3 million tonnes the previous season due to a lower planted area. He said corn exports are expected to drop to 19 million tonnes in 2023-24, off 30% from an expected 27 million tonnes in 2022-23.

“The lower export forecast is due to a lower (crop) area, but also because we compare it to the high ones in the current campaign, when we had huge stocks,” Gorbachov said while speaking with Reuters at the GrainCom conference in Geneva, Switzerland,

Ukraine’s wheat crop is projected to fall to 17 million tonnes from 20.2 million last year. Of this, 14 million tonnes could be exported in the upcoming season, down from 15.5 million in 2022-23, Gorbachov said.

Oilseed production looks set to rebound, with the sunflower seed harvest up 20% to 12.65 million tonnes this year, while soybean output is forecast to rise to 4.4 million tonnes from the 3.7 million tonnes harvested in 2022. Rapeseed output in 2023 is seen at 3.7 million tonnes, slightly above the 3.64 million tonnes produced last year, the UGA said.

Ukraine is among the major exporters of corn and wheat to world markets and has been the largest supplier of sunflower oil, but it has struggled to maintain production levels and grain handling infrastructure as its war with Russia enters its 16th month.

Meanwhile, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which facilitates the export of Ukrainian agricultural products is due to expire May 18 and efforts to have it extended are ongoing, according to the United Nations. The deal was brokered last July by the UN and Turkey after Russia’s invasion last February blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia has said it won’t extend the deal unless its demands are met to remove obstacles for its own grain and fertilizer exports.

The UN said that so far nearly 30 million tonnes of grain and foodstuffs had been exported from Ukraine under the Black Sea deal, including 600,000 tonnes for the World Food Programme’s aid operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.

The European Union also has been aiding agricultural exports for Ukraine via overland routes through Eastern European countries via solidarity lanes to other member states and third-party countries.