Ukraine Urges UN and Turkey to Start Talks to Extend Grain Deal
Ukraine has sent an appeal to the UN and Turkey to start negotiations on extending a grain export deal, but so far there has been no response, a Ukrainian government source said on Tuesday.
Yuriy Vaskov, Ukraine's deputy minister of restoration, told Reuters last week that Kyiv would ask all sides to start talks to roll over the deal, seeking an extension of at least one year that would include the ports of Mykolaiv.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the UN and Turkey last July allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports. The agreement was extended in November and will expire on March 18 unless an extension is agreed.
"We have sent a letter requesting that we start dealing with this issue as March 18 is very soon, but we have not had any feedback so far," a source said.
A major global grain grower and exporter, Ukraine's grain exports were down almost 27% at 31.8 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season as of Feb. 27, impacted by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion.
Ukraine exports around 3 million tonnes of agricultural products a month under the deal, but Vaskov said Ukraine was able to export 6 million tonnes a month from the ports of Odesa region and boost it to 8 million tonnes if Mykolaiv joins.
Despite a decrease in the 2022 grain harvest to around 54 million tonnes from a record 86 million in 2021, at least 30 million tonnes of grain are still in silos and could be exported, according to the agriculture ministry.
(Reuters - Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Bernadette Baum)