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KYIV: Ukraine’s grain exports have reached 5.1 million tonnes so far in March compared to 1.4 million tonnes in March 2022, the agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday.

Ukrainian Black Sea ports, main routes for grain exports, were blocked after the Russian invasion in February 2022, causing a sharp fall in shipments which were available only via small Danube river ports or via western border.

The ministry said Ukraine’s overall grain exports fell by 16.7% to 37.4 million tonnes so far in the 2022/23 July-June season from the same period in 2021/22.

The volume so far in the current season included about 12.8 million tonnes of wheat, 22 million tonnes of corn and 2.27 million tonnes of barley.

After an almost six-month blockade caused by Russia’s invasion, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were cleared at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

A major grain producer and exporter, Ukraine is likely to see a drop in grain output to about 53 million tonnes in clean weight in the 2022 calendar year from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021.

Officials have blamed the fall on hostilities in the country’s eastern, northern and southern regions.

The government has said Ukraine can harvest 44.3 million tones of grain, including 16.6 million tonnes of wheat, in 2023.

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