Exports of Ukraine’s main agricultural products 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 Ministry of Agriculture showed on Monday.
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 large amount of crops unharvested or destroyed.
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Agricultural exports between Feb. 24 and Aug. 15 this year fell to 10 million tonnes from around 19.5 million in the same period last year, according to ministry data.
The 2022 grain harvest in Ukraine is expected to fall to around 50 million tonnes from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.
From February 24 to August 15 this year, Ukraine exported 3.8 million tons of corn, 1.4 million tons of sunflower seeds, almost a million tons of sunflower oil and about 640 000 tons of wheat, according to ministry data.
The country, whose food production the government says is capable of feeding up to 400 million people, also exported barley, soybean seeds and oil, sunflower and soybean meal.
At the end of July, three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea were unblocked as part of an agreement between Moscow and Kyiv, negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey.
But even with the opening of the ports, Ukraine’s agricultural exports are significantly lower than they were before the conflict, when Ukraine exported up to 6 million tonnes of grain per month.