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Ukraine Grain Exports Near Pre-War Levels

Ukraine is on track to export as much as 4 MMT of agricultural products in August

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

Ukraine is on course to ship nearly as much grain this month as it did before the Russian invasion in February, a U.S. official told AFP News Agency on August 23.

"Thanks to intensive international cooperation, Ukraine is on track to export as much as four million metric tons of agricultural products in August," a senior U.S. State Department official said.

The country exported 3 million metric tonnes in July.

In July, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement through the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations, with guarantees for grain ships to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

According to reports, more than 720,000 tons of grain onboard 33 ships have left Ukraine over the past several weeks.

In addition to the vessels that have already left Ukraine, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said a further 18 were now loading or waiting for permission to leave Ukrainian ports.

In a separate statement, the ministry said exports of key Ukrainian agricultural commodities had fallen by almost half since the start of the Russian invasion compared to the same period in 2021.

River, rail and road routes still viable

More significant so far has been a European initiative to ship Ukrainian grain by river, rail and road routes, reports France 24.

The so-called "Solidarity Lanes" established by the European Union rushed additional vehicles including trucks to the border, addressing hurdles including Ukrainian wagons' incompatibility with European rail gauges.

The European effort is shipping 2.5 to 3 million tons of produce into the European Union and beyond to international markets each month, the official said.

U.S. contributes $68 million to buy Ukrainian wheat

Last week, the U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said it was providing over $68 million in additional funding to the UN World Food Program (WFP) to purchase, move and store up to 150,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat to help respond to the world’s food crises.

According to USAID, the world is facing its most severe food crisis in decades. In order to save lives, humanitarians need access to all available grain stores to deliver to the populations that need it most.

Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was one of WFP’s top suppliers of grain and the fourth largest commercial exporter of wheat. Opening the Ukrainian market is a vital step forward in the emergency response.

The UN agency warned on Friday that some 22 million people face starvation in Horn of Africa countries where the rising costs of imported food have exacerbated the effects of climate change.

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