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331772

Ukraine grain exports down 48.6% so far in 2022/23 season

KYIV, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Ukraine's grain exports were down 48.6% year on year at 1.23 million tonnes so far in the 2022/23 season, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

Grain exports for the 2021/22 season ending June 30 rose 8.5% to 48.5 million tonnes, driven by strong shipments before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 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.

However, a ship loaded with Ukrainian grain this week set off from a Ukrainian port for the first time since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The Turkish defenсe ministry and Reuters witnesses said on Friday that another three ships loaded with grain have left Ukrainian ports under a recently concluded deal.

The ministry data showed that exports so far in 2022/23 included 1.25 million tonnes of corn, 444,000 tonnes of wheat and 165,000 tonnes of barley.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest at least 50 million tonnes of grain this year, compared with a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower grain yields. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman )

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