UKRAINE- Major grain producer and exporter, Ukraine, plans to ban imports from Moldova in response to a potential ban on Ukrainian grain announced on May 6, the Kyiv Independent reported.

According to Moldova’s agriculture minister, the country plans to join other European Union countries in banning some Ukrainian grains while allowing their transit.

In warning, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture Taras Kachka said any restriction by Moldova would be viewed as an “extremely unfriendly step” and an immediate ban on all imports from Moldova would follow.

On May 2, the European Commission officially banned the import of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds to ease logistical bottlenecks related to these goods in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia until June 5. 

The EC said the measures were part of the overall support package presented, and financial support for farmers in the five member states will complement it.

Ukraine claims there are alternatives to Black Sea grain deal 

Meanwhile, Russia seems to have successfully halted the Black Sea grain initiative, which has allowed grain from Ukraine to reach destinations in other continents. 

According to Ukraine’s reconstruction ministry, Russia refused to register 90 ships, including 62 vessels waiting in Turkey’s territorial waters for approval to go to Ukrainian ports.

The Russian Federation once again effectively stopped the Grain Initiative by refusing to register incoming vessels and carry out their inspections. This approach contradicts the terms of the current agreement,” the ministry said in a statement.

The challenges facing the Black Sea grain deal have led to significant increases in global food prices, especially for grains like wheat, maize, and rice.  

At the same time, the increase in rice prices is extremely worrisome, and it is essential that the Black Sea initiative is renewed to avoid any other spikes in wheat and maize,”  FAO chief economist Maximo Torero comments.

However, Ukraine said it has alternate ways of transporting grain if the Black Sea agreement does not extend beyond May 18, according to a report by Reuters.

We do not envisage any apocalyptic scenario due to a million circumstances. Ukrainian farmers and Ukrainian traders have shown that they can do a lot, and a lot of (export) routes can be laid,” Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said on May 8. 

Ukraine also exports grain via Danube River ports and has said previously that what is known as the Danube Cluster offers a viable alternative export route.

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