Black Sea grain deal set to expire soon, Ukraine warns
The PETREL S vessel leaving the port of Chornomorsk with a cargo of Ukrainian food (Photo:Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine / Facebook)
The Black Sea grain deal, which allows Ukrainian agricultural produce to be exported to Africa and Asia despite Russia’s naval presence, expires on March 20, 2023, although the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry hopes it will be extended, the ministry said in a press release on Feb. 21.
“When the current grain agreement expires on March 20, we expect that a consensus decision will be made with partners to extend it,” said First Deputy Minister Taras Vysotsky. “Negotiations are ongoing.”
He noted that Ukraine is doing everything possible to prolong the agreement and is negotiating with partners – the UN and Turkey.
According to Vysotsky, Ukraine exported more than 30 million tons of grain in the 2022-2023 season, with about the same amount of grain still being stored in the country.
The ministry noted there is currently a certain decrease in prices for agricultural products due to the difficulty of forecasting shipments from Ukrainian ports after March 20.
“Usually, all grain and oilseeds markets correlate with each other,” Vysotsky said.
“So, a similar downward trend in prices is also observed for wheat, barley and partially oilseeds. This situation was also observed in autumn, when the issue of extending the preliminary grain agreement was raised. We hope that after a clear signal that it will continue to work, there will be a clear layout of sea shipments and the price will stabilize.”
He added that is still a line of grain ships at the Bosporus – due to intentional sabotage by Russian inspectors. On average, 2.5 ships pass per day. These delays impose additional costs for Ukrainian agro-industrial complex.
On Nov. 17, 2022, Ukraine, the UN, and Turkey agreed to extend the Initiative for the Safe Transportation of Agricultural Products across the Black Sea for another 120 days.
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