Last year Ukraine had a record harvest and export of grains, that’s why the ongoing blockade of our sea ports is not as dramatic in terms of food security as the media sometimes present it.  

It is often based on incorrect comparison of export volumes in the last months before the war and now. National Bank of Ukraine repeats this error in Monthly macroeconomic and monetary review where it gives such diagram:

An average level of monthly export before the war vs export in March and April

In May Ukraine exported 1.063 mln tons compared to 2.8 mln tons in May 2021. So, in May year on year exports have dropped 2,6  times, which is much less on the diagram above (5+ times). Moreover, if we compare official marketing year data we will see that in the 2021/2022 marketing year grain Ukraine exported even more grain – 47,281 mln tons then in 2020/2021 – 42,661 mln tons.

In fact Ukraine in 2021/2022 m.y. exported more grain than in the previous year! Obviously, it happened because volumes of export in the last months before the war were significantly higher than usual.

At Grain&Maritime Days in Istanbul 2022 last November the Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine said that Ukraine plans to export more than 60 mln tons in 2020/2021.

So, the only problem is that Ukraine didn’t manage to export these records 60+ mln tons. 23,5 mln tons are still in our granaries.

Black sea traffic before and during blockade of Ukraine’s ports

With our current railway capacity it would take some 10 month to export these stocks. A lot can happen in that time, for example, our railway infrastructure can be destroyed. There is no guarantee that Ukraine will really sell last year’s harvest. If Ukraine will increase transport capacity from 1 to some 2 mln tons in a month it will also won’t save the situation. I guess that 2 mln tons or a little bit more is a limit because the “river transport” option in a diagram above assumes export through the river system of Byelorussia, this way will be closed whatever politics say now.

So, the conclusion is that these 23,5 mln tons in stocks is a really serious problem. But now it is mostly a problem for those who sell and buy grain in the market, it will touch ordinary people to a much less degree. Ukraine exported enough grain last year.  


I'm a freelancer based in Ukraine, l write mostly about details of life in a country during war. There won't be any military stuff, propaganda, war horrors hype or any violation of actual legislation in this blog. If you want to support my work send a donation as a friend at PayPal address unreporterua@gmail.com

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