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A total of 61 cargo ships carrying around 1.5M tonnes of food have left Ukraine under a deal brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey to unblock Black Sea ports, Reuters reported the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry as saying.

Six ships loaded with 183,000 tonnes of agricultural products had left Ukrainian Black Sea ports on 30 August, the ministry was quoted as saying.

In a separate statement on the same date, Ukrainian grain traders’ union UGA was quoted as saying that corn accounted for 62% of the total export volume, wheat for 17% and barley for 6%. The country also exported rapeseed, sunflowerseed, soyabean and other commodities.

Ukraine's grain exports had slumped following Russia’s invasion of the country on 24 February and subsequent blockade of its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East, Reuters wrote on 30 August.

Three Black Sea ports had reopened under a deal signed on 22 July by Moscow and Kyiv, the report said, with these ports able to load and transport 100-150 cargo ships/month, according to the ministry.

Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky told Reuters on 29 August that the country’s agricultural exports could rise to 6M-6.5M tonnes in October – double the July volume – as its sea ports gradually reopened.