KYIV, UKRAINE — Grain exports for Ukraine fell to 8.72 million tonnes so far for the 2023-24 marketing season, Reuters reported, citing Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food data, which also showed that by Oct. 28 of last year the country had exported 12.34 million tonnes.

Export volumes this year so far were 4.4 million tonnes of wheat, 3.5 million tonnes of corn and 669,000 tonnes of barley. In the previous season Ukraine exported 4.7 million tonnes of wheat, 6.6 million tonnes of corn and 1.05 million tonnes of barley.

The ministry said 1.97 million tonnes of grain were exported in the first 26 days of October. Ukraine exported 3.65 million tonnes from Oct. 1-27 a year ago.

Ukraine is among the world’s leading exporters of wheat, corn and barley. The country traditionally has shipped most of its agricultural products through its deepwater Black Sea ports, which have been under siege since Russia’s February 2022 invasion and blockade. Since the end of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which offered safe passage for grain shipments until July this year, Russia also has attacked Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure on the Danube River.

Ukrainian officials said 51 cargo vessels had entered a new Black Sea shipping corridor since it came into operation in August as Kyiv stepped up a push to defy the de-facto Russian blockade. Ukraine’s new corridor does not go directly toward the Bosphorus Strait as it did under the initiative but hugs the coastlines of Ukraine and NATO members Romania and Bulgaria. The corridor temporarily was suspended on Oct. 26 due to the threat of Russian warplanes and sea mines.

Ukraine’s government expects it to harvest 79 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds in 2023, with its 2023-24 exportable surplus projected to be about 50 million tonnes.