Ukraine’s food exports to Asia, Africa fall due to blocked seaports -association

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine has sharply reduced its exports of farm goods to Asian and African countries so far in 2023 due to blocked seaports in the Black Sea, which has traditionally been the main export route, agricultural business association UCAB said on Thursday.

The lion’s share of Ukrainian agrarian, metallurgical and chemical exports left the country from the Black Sea ports, which were partially or completely blocked after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine, one of the world’s major grain growers and exporters, has traditionally shipped its grain to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

UCAB said on Facebook the share of agricultural exports to Africa decreased to 7% in January-October 2023 from 14% in the same period in 2021. Exports to Asia decreased to 12% from 19%, while shipments to Southeast Asia fell to 4% from 13%.

“The main reason for these changes is the blockade of Ukrainian seaports by Russian troops,” UCAB said.

“The development of alternative routes, which were only possible through the territory of the European Union, led to changes. Ukrainian farmers were forced to look for buyers of their products in Europe,” the association said.

UCAB noted the share of agricultural exports to Europe rose to 59% in the first 10 months of 2023 from 32% in pre-war 2021.

The association said the share of grain in exports since the beginning of 2023 was 39% against 45% in 2021. The share of vegetable oil in exports remained unchanged at 26%.

UCAB said Ukraine had increased exports of oilseeds, sugar, diary products, meat and some other goods in 2023.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by David Evans)