Despite recent increases, grain prices are still lower than they were on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, partly because the end of the deal was expected, Mr. Ellender said. In addition, Ukrainian grain exports have recently been at reduced levels because of limited labor, with workers fighting the war, and limited fuel supplies and lost territory to Russia.
Ukraine has also increased exports by truck, train and river barge.
Ukraine is still likely to be able to export most of its wheat, corn, barley and sunflower seeds via alternative routes, said Rabobank, a Dutch bank, on Thursday. But this will put additional pressure on ports on the Danube River, which flows from the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea, and the cost of transport will become more expensive, and rail infrastructure will be at a higher risk of Russian attack, the note said.
“The higher transport cost means that Ukrainian farmers may, quite possibly, reduce planted area in the future,” the note said.
Ukraine is one of the leading exporters of grain and the leading global exporter of sunflower oil, and the deal had allowed Ukraine to restart the export of millions of tons of grain that dropped after the invasion.
Ukraine has exported 32.9 million metric tons of grain and other agricultural products to 45 countries since the initiative began, according to United Nations data. Under the agreement, ships had been permitted to pass by Russian naval vessels that had blockaded Ukraine’s ports in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Soaring prices are expected to hit the poorest people in the world the hardest. Ukraine last year had supplied more than half of the World Food Program’s wheat grain sent to people in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, according to the U.N.