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Ukraine grain exports down 52.6% so far for 2022/23, ministry says

KYIV, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine's grain exports are down 52.6% year on year at 3.6 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season so far, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

Grain exports for the 2021/22 season to 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.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

The ministry data showed that exports so far in 2022/23 included 2.33 million tonnes of corn, 981,000 tonnes of wheat and 289,000 tonnes of barley.

The volumes include 1.9 million tonnes of grain exported so far in August, almost 60% less than the 4.6 million tonnes exported in the same period last year.

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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