As the Ukrainian harvest gathers pace, Agrarian Policy Minister Mykola Solskyi said that the country can unload its grain storage elevators if the Black Sea ports work at least at half capacity.
"If the military situation in the region is stable and everyone abides by the agreements, I am sure that it is possible," Solskyi said.
"In recent days, we have raised our forecast for the harvest," Solskyi said. "We will be able to collect 65-67 million tonnes. We will have to export about 50 million tonnes either as grain or in processed products such as meal and oil."
"We have about 18-19 million tonnes left over from last season [2021-22]," he said.
Ukraine needs to export about 70 million tonnes (metric tons) of products until next year's harvest.
"This is about 5 million tonnes per month. The number is large, but it is common for Ukrainian business. Last month, without seaports, we increased exports to 3 million tons per month," Solskyi said.
The grain traffic through the Black Sea is gradually gathering pace.
Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov said Friday that a bulk freighter coming to Ukraine to collect grain had passed inspection at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, and it is expected to arrive Saturday.
Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey, discussed ships on their way to Turkey at a news conference Friday.
"We will see how quickly these three ships pass, and we will understand whether we can increase the volume of transportation to 3 million tonnes per month. If three ships are currently carrying 57,000 tons, then in 30 days, we can easily achieve this result, or even more," he said.
The three bulk carriers left Ukrainian ports early Friday.
Bodnar also suggested that further progress by Ukrainian forces in the south could unlock other shipping routes.
He said that if the military "can knock out the occupiers from the Kherson region, or at least from Kherson city, this will open up additional opportunities for transporting goods from Ukrainian ports — just as the liberation of Snake Island opened the possibility of this agreement."