Ukrainian grain exports have fallen to 6.68 million metric tons so far in the 2023/24 July-June season from 8.99 million tons in the same period of 2022/23, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.

Only 7,000 tons of grain were exported on the first day of October 2023 compared with 297,000 tons a year ago.

The ministry gave no explanation for the fall.

Traders and agricultural unions have said that Ukrainian Black Sea ports being blocked and Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River are the main reasons for lower exports.

The exported volume included 3.3 million tons of wheat, 2.7 million tons of corn and 622,000 tons of barley.

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

A deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey allowing such exports collapsed in July as Russia declined to recognise it, saying its demand that sanctions be lifted on its grain and fertiliser exports had not been met.

Ukraine can 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 79 million tons of grain and oilseed in 2023, with 2023/24 exportable surplus totals of about 50 million tons.

Written by Pavel Polityuk/editing by Robert Birsel for Reuters