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Ukraine has asked Turkey and the United Nations to enter talks to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) by at least one year and to include the port of Mykolaiv, a senior Ukrainian official was quoted as saying by Reuters.

With the BSGI due to expire on 18 March, Ukraine has asked Turkey and the UN - co-brokers of the agreement with Russia - to start talks to extend the deal, according to the 22 February report.

Brokered last July, the deal created a protected transit corridor to allow grain and agricultural exports to be shipped from the Ukrainian deep sea ports of Chornomorsk, Odessa and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi. Extended on 17 November by 120 days, the initiative was set to expire on 18 March unless an extension was agreed.

“A formal proposal will come out from us this week on the need to work on an extension,” Ukraine’s deputy minister of restoration Yuriy Vaskov told Reuters.

At the time of the report, Vaskov said the exact date of the talks, which had previously taken place in Turkey, had not been set.

“We will request ... to extend it not for 120 days but for at least one year because the Ukrainian and global agricultural market needs to be able to plan these volumes (of exports) in the long term,” Vaskov added.

He said Ukraine would insist on an increase in the number of inspection teams “in order to eliminate the accumulation of vessels waiting for inspections”.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of delaying inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian agricultural goods, leading to reduced shipments and losses for traders, Reuters wrote.

Russia had denied those accusations, saying it was meeting all its obligations under the grain export deal, the report said.

Ukrainian exports of grain, sunflowers and rapeseed have almost reached pre-war levels, according to a report by German trade association OVID, which represents the interests of oilseed processing and vegetable oil refining companies in the country.

Sunflowers and rapeseed production in Germany had also expanded, the 23 February report said.

In 2022, German farmers more than doubled the cultivation of sunflowers to 85,000ha compared to the previous year, the report said.

Rapeseed production in Germany also increased for the fourth consecutive year, totalling around 1.1M ha at the time of the OVID report.