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Around 1.5 million tons of food shipped from Ukraine’s un-blocked ports in August

  • Key Message Update
  • Ukraine
  • August 2022
Around 1.5 million tons of food shipped from Ukraine’s un-blocked ports in August

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In August, Russian forces have continued to fight for territorial gains in the eastern Donbas region, while Ukrainian forces have taken steps toward re-taking the city of Kherson in the south. As of late August, Russian forces control all of the Luhansk Oblast and continue to advance in the Donestsk Oblast. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces claim to have broken through Russia’s first line of defense in the region around Kherson city. According to most experts, the conflict is unlikely to see a resolution or major shifts in the coming months; although both sides will seek to take or re-take more territory, counter-attacks and counter-offensives, as well as winter conditions, will likely make advancements more difficult for both sides.

    • In July, FAO’s global Food Price Index fell 8.6 percent compared to June. This was the fourth consecutive month of decline and the steepest monthly decline that has been recorded since October 2008. The vegetable oil and cereal price indices registered the sharpest declines of 19.2 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively. Vegetable oil price declines are attributable to expectations of ample new supplies, lowered global demand, and lower crude oil prices, while cereal price declines are attributable to the agreement to unblock Ukrainian seaports—allowing for the resumption of exports—and seasonal availability from ongoing northern hemisphere harvests. Despite the declines, food prices remain elevated; the Global Food Price Index in July remained 13 percent higher than the same time last year, with the vegetable oil and cereal price indices 10 percent and 13 percent higher, respectively, than the same time last year. More recently, in August, prices of key agricultural commodities including wheat, maize, soybeans, palm oil, and sunflower oil have remained stable or increased.

    • As of August 30, 61 ships carrying around 1.5 million tons of food had been dispatched from the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi since the agreement to unblock these ports was reached on July 22. However, the pace of exports is still slower than before the war. In the first half of August, 948,000 tons of grain were exported via Ukraine’s sea and land ports, about half of what was exported in the same time period of 2021. As of mid-August, Ukraine’s grain exports in the 2022/23 marketing year (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023) stood at 2.9 million tons, 52 percent less than the same time last year.

    • While most grain shipments from Ukraine’s re-opened ports are filling existing business contracts in richer countries, some have been procured for food assistance. As of August 22, the UN reported that it has purchased 60,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat for food assistance. This total includes 23,000 tons of grain destined for Ethiopia, which docked in Djibouti on August 30. WFP expects that this is enough to support full rations for 1.5 million people for one month, though needs far exceed this. Another UN-purchased shipment of around 37,500 tons of wheat destined for Yemen departed on August 30.

    • The Ukrainian government plans to export 3 million tons of grain from its ports in September, and hopes to export up to 4 million tons in subsequent months. According to the shipping journal Lloyd’s List, exporting 3 million tons of food per month would require that 15 ships leave Ukrainian ports every day. While ship owners reportedly fear sending vessels there due to the risks of the conflict—including mines—and insurance costs are high, amounting to 1-2 percent of a ship’s value, interest in procuring Ukrainian exports appears to be high. On August 25, the Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister stated that the government had received over 60 applications for loading at Ukrainian ports, up from the more than 40 applications reported on August 19 and the 30 applications reported on August 16.

    • On August 30, the Prime Minister of Ukraine stated that international partners have provided 17.5 billion USD to support Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion. This funding has comprised military assistance and economic support, including for government pension and social welfare payments, provision of public services, and support to hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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