Ukraine may export a further 15.6 million tonnes of grain in the April to June quarter, which would unexpectedly lift this season's exports to nearly 53 million tonnes, the AgroPortal agency quoted the first deputy farm minister as saying on Thursday.
Ukraine's 2022 grain harvest fell sharply to around 53 million tonnes due to Russia's invasion of the country, from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.
Millions of tonnes of grain from last year's harvest remained in Ukraine's silos after its major Black Sea ports were closed in the second half of the 2021/22 season.
After an almost six-month blockade, a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye, unblocked three of the ports at the end of July.
Taras Vysotskiy said that in the remaining months of the season, volumes could include 10 million tonnes of grain exported via the Black Sea grain export corridor and 5.6 million via alternative routes.
Ukraine has exported 37.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 July-June season, including 20.6 million tonnes via the corridor.
Grain Corridor Agreement
Although the grain corridor agreement was extended last month, Ukraine reiterated that the number of cargo ships carrying its agricultural products passing through the Bosporus remains critically low.
The ministry earlier this week said that March figures 'differ little' from February's, with an average of 2.8 ships a day passing through the strait. January's level was the lowest ever, at 2.5 vessels per day.
Ukraine has said Russian inspectors artificially delay ship checks, an accusation denied by Moscow.
According to Kyiv authorities, the current pace of exports only utilises 30% of the capacity of Ukrainian ports.
Ukraine has appealed to the United Nations and Türkiye to press Russia to stop hindering grain shipments that supply millions of people, and not to use food as a weapon.
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