EU agriculture ministers say ready to help Ukraine with grain exports

EU agriculture and fisheries ministers stand ready to promote the export of Ukrainian food, including grain, to both global markets and EU countries, Spanish minister Luis Planas Puchades, whose country is holding the bloc’s presidency, said on Monday.

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Mr Puchades told a briefing following an EU council meeting that the ministers had reaffirmed support "for the people and government of Ukraine, who are suffering from the consequences of the criminal war unleashed by Russia", Ukrinform news agency reports.

"We also supported Ukrainian farmers to allow them to continue exporting grain. This is essential to reduce the vulnerability of global markets. So we have expressed political support to Ukraine and are providing economic assistance to ensure food security," the Spanish official added.

The EU agriculture ministers discussed, among other things, new ways of shipping Ukrainian food through Romania and Moldova, as well as the Baltic and Adriatic seas.

"We need to find a way to export Ukrainian grain to supply it, in particular, to certain countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the European Union. For us, this is also a matter of political solidarity," Mr Puchades said.

He assured that the shipment of grain from Ukraine will remain a priority despite the events in the Middle East.

The EU last year launched the ‘Solidarity Lanes’ system to help move Ukrainian grain out of the country amid Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

In September, 3.8 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain were transported via the ‘Solidarity Lanes’, compared to 4.38 million tonnes in August, according to European commission data.

Ukraine also remains an important supplier of grain to the EU. Spain has so far exported almost 9 million tonnes of grain, mainly corn, since last May, and the Netherlands, about 2.8 million tonnes.