Ukraine's grain exports are down 46 per cent year on year at 2.65 million tonnes (mt) so far in the 2022-23 season, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

Grain exports for the 2021-22 season ending June 30 rose 8.5 per cent to 48.5 mt, driven by strong shipments before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Ukraine's grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports - a key route for shipments - were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

At the end of July, three Black Sea ports were unblocked under the deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, which made it possible to send hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Ukrainian grain to buyers.

The ministry data showed that exports so far in 2022-23 included 1.75 mt of corn, 658,000 tonnes of wheat and 226,000 tonnes of barley.

The overall volume includes 948,000 tonnes of grain exported in the first half of August. Ukraine exported 1.88 mt in the first 15 days of August 2021.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest at least 50 mt of grain this year, compared with a record 86 mt in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower grain yields.

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