KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine has large enough grain stocks in territory it still controls to feed the population in these areas, and has enough fuel to meet farmers’ daily needs, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy said on Thursday.
Ukraine said last month Russian forces had stolen “several hundred thousand tonnes” of grain in the areas of Ukraine they have occupied since the invasion began on Feb. 24 and this could affect the food security of local population.
The Kremlin has denied the allegation.
On Thursday, Vysotskiy said, “Today we have about 25 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds in stocks. If we are talking about the temporarily occupied territory, there were about 1.3 million tonnes of grain”.
“From the point of view of providing food (grains and cereals) for all 40 million Ukrainians, we have sufficient reserves in the controlled territory,” he added.
He also said Ukraine had stepped up grain exports by using alternative routes in April after Russia blocked ports on the Black Sea, and that he expected grain exports to increase further in May.
Ukraine’s grain exports fell to around 923,000 tonnes in April from 2.8 million tonnes in the same month in 2021 due to the war, analyst APK-Inform said this week.
The consultancy said the country’s exports included 768,486 tonnes of corn and 127,130 tonnes of wheat. Ukraine also exported 151,529 tonnes of sunflower oil and 169,681 tonnes of oilseeds, mostly sunseed.
According to International Grains Council data, Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, selling 44.7 million tonnes abroad.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel PolityukEditing by Timothy Heritage and Frances Kerry)