The volume export of agricultural products through the ports of Odesa and Mykolaiv was up to 5 million tons per month before the beginning of Russia's full-scale military operations against Ukraine. Ukraine has lost USD 1.5 billion in revenue in the one month since the beginning of the war.
Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotskyi stated this in an interview with the Forbes publication, the CFTS portal reports.
“First of all, I want to assure you that Ukraine will be able to feed itself in full. We have sufficient stocks to meet Ukrainians’ requirements for more than one year. We have begun an active sowing campaign. We do not have a shortage of any food items. The state has begun buying grain and other stocks from farmers, using state budget funds. We have much more food products than we can consume. All this should not spoil at a time when other countries around the world are experiencing a crisis and some are starving while we need foreign-exchange earnings to support our economy," said Vysotskyi.
According to him, Ukraine previously exported up to 5 million tons of agricultural products per month through the ports of Greater Odesa and Mykolaiv. However, the current situation is essentially blocking the country’s exports. Currently, the export capability has fallen to 0.5 tons of grain per month, because of which Ukraine has already lost USD 1.5 billion.
According to the first deputy minister, Ukraine currently has three ways to export goods: through the ports on River Danube, by rail, and by road. However, each of them has its own problems.
The Danube ports account for approximately 30% of exports. They have limited throughput capacity because there are not enough barges, berths, and terminals. According to Vysotskyi, Ukraine practically did not export its products through this route in the past and little investment was made in these capacities.
"There are also problems with railways, via which about 70% of the products can be transported. Previously, the European railway was not actively used for the transportation of grain. As you know, track widths and rolling stock in Ukraine and Russia are different [compared with the EU]. Therefore, we need to look for European grain carriers and reload products into narrow-gauge wagons. […] We are still actively working with our European partners on this issue because otherwise, it will take three years to export the remaining stock in our warehouses," he said.
Currently, up to 30,000 tons of Ukrainian grain products are exported by rail per day.
"Together with our partners, we are doing everything to intensify the processes of transportation of export goods. As a world food leader, we are responsible not only for ourselves. Due to the war unleashed by Russia, dozens of countries will not be on the verge but at the epicenter of hunger. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has already stated that the world is facing the collapse of the entire global food system. We are working to prevent this," Vysotskyi said.