KYIV, Ukraine – Exports of key Ukrainian agricultural commodities have fallen by almost half since the start of the Russian invasion earlier this year compared to the same period in 2021, data from the agriculture ministry showed late on Monday, August 22.
Russia began its attack on Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation,” and as a result of the fighting, Ukrainian seaports were blocked, leaving a vast amount of crops either unharvested or destroyed.
Agricultural exports between February 24 and August 15 this year fell to 10 million metric tons from around 19.5 million in the same period last year, the ministry data showed.
The 2022 grain harvest in Ukraine is forecast to fall to around 50 million metric tons from a record 86 million metric tons in 2021.
From February 24 to August 15 this year, Ukraine has exported 3.8 million metric tons of corn, 1.4 million metric tons of sunflower seeds, almost 1 million metric tons of sunflower oil, and around 640,000 metric tons of wheat, the ministry data showed.
The country, whose food production, according to the government, is capable of feeding up to 400 million people, also exported barley, soy beans, and oil, sunflower, and soybean meals.
At the end of July, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were unblocked under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
But even with the ports opened, Ukraine’s agricultural exports are significantly lower than before the conflict, when Ukraine exported up to 6 million metric tons of grain a month.
Last week the agriculture ministry said Ukraine’s grain exports in the 2022-2023 season up to August 19 are down 51.6% from a year earlier at 2.99 million metric tons.
Grain exports for the 2021-2022 season, which ended on June 30, rose 8.5% to 48.5 million metric tons thanks to a large volume of shipments before Russia invaded. – Rappler.com