Ukrainian grain imports into Moldova will be limited to protect local farmers while transit to third countries would be allowed to continue, Reuters reported from a government statement.

A special licence would be required for any supplies of wheat, corn and sunflowerseed from neighbouring Ukraine, the government was quoted as saying.

A major global grain producer and exporter, Ukraine had faced difficulties with its exports since Russia invaded in February 2022, blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and attacking agricultural infrastructure, including on the Danube River, the 5 October report said.

Ukrainian trade representative Taras Kachka was quoted as saying the decision would not apply to transit through Moldova, a nation of 2.6M people on Ukraine’s western border but not a member of the European Union (EU).

“In consultations with Ukraine, the Moldovan side is introducing import licensing for sunflowerseeds,” Kachka said on Facebook.

The measure was not intended as a ban on Ukrainian imports and was in line with Ukraine’s attempts to normalise grain trade with neighbouring countries, Kachka added.

Ukraine had been working with neighbouring EU countries to introduce export licences for a number of farm products as a compromise, World Grain wrote.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary introduced national restrictions on Ukrainian imports in response to a decision by the European Commission not to extend its import ban.

Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania reached an agreement on 3 October to allow the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products through Poland to third countries by transferring product inspections from the Polish border to a Lithuanian port.

To date, Ukraine has exported 6.82M tonnes of grain in the 2023/24 July-June season, which was 24% lower than the volume of 8.99M tonnes recorded at the same time the previous year, according to the country’s agriculture ministry.