Ukrainian grain exports over Sept. 1-24 totaled 1.57 million metric tons, down sharply from the 3.21 million tons in the corresponding period last year, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.

The ministry gave no explanation for the decline.

Traders and agricultural unions have said that Ukrainian the blocking of Black Sea ports and recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River are the main reasons for the reduced exports.

The ministry data showed that Ukraine has exported a total of 6.2 million tons of grain so far in the 2023/24 July-June season, versus 7.5 million tons in the same period of the previous season.

The volume included almost 3 million tons of wheat, 2.5 million tons of corn and 599,000 tons of barley.

Ukraine has traditionally shipped most of its exports through its deep-water Black Sea ports.

An agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to allow such exports collapsed in July when Russia walked away from the deal, saying its demands for an easing of sanctions on its own grain and fertilizer exports had not been met.

Ukraine is able to export limited volumes through small river ports on the Danube and via its western land border with the European Union.

Ukraine is expected to harvest at least 80 million tons of grain and oilseed in 2023 and the 2023/24 exportable surplus totals about 50 million tons.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman