May 19, 2022
Ukraine exporting more grain over land but needs to regain sea access to avoid food crisis
Taras Kachka, Ukraine's Deputy Economy Minister, said the country is exporting more grain over land to the EU but needs to regain sea access to avoid a potential crisis for food importing nations, Reuters reported.
He said land shipments cannot compensate for the loss of its sea ports, currently blocked by Russia's invasion.
Diplomatic attempts to free up grain reserves in Ukraine have escalated, with the country exporting up to 6 million tonnes per month through sea ports before Russia's invasion.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General has proposed that Russia allow the transit of Ukrainian grain in exchange for the facilitation of Russian and Belarusian fertiliser exports.
Kachka said failure to restore maritime commerce from Ukraine in the coming months might prolong global food tensions by preventing farmers from planting winter wheat for the next year.
India's move to ban all wheat exports except government-to-government sales in order to safeguard local supply has highlighted the world grain market's need for Ukrainian supplies.
Kachka said despite the fact that the harvest will be significantly smaller this year owing to the impact of the conflict, massive unsold inventories imply Ukraine will have a comparable export surplus next season to 2021/22, when it produced a record crop.
He said because of the war, Ukraine would require several years to restore its agricultural productivity.