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Ukraine's grain exports have slowed, ministry data shows

KYIV, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Grain exports from Ukraine have slowed over the past 10 days, with volumes so far this month 9% behind the same period last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for what it says are "artificial delays" to inspections of grain corridor vessels that ship Ukrainian grain abroad, resulting in a significant reduction to exports.

In mid-October the ministry said that grain exports in the first 17 days of the month were only 2.4% lower than in the same period of 2021.

The country's grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded in February, with the closing off of its Black Sea ports 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.

Ministry data showed that exports so far in October totalled 3.49 million tonnes, down from 3.83 million tonnes in the same period in October 2021.

The data showed that Ukraine has exported a total of 12.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 July-June season, compared with 18.2 million tonnes in the same period of the previous season.

This season's volume includes 4.6 million tonnes of wheat, 6.5 million tonnes of corn and 1 million tonnes of barley.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman)

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