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Ukraine's Odesa region introduces new grain export control mechanism

FILE PHOTO: Barley harvest in Odesa region amid Russia's attack on Ukraine

KYIV (Reuters) - The southern Ukrainian region of Odesa, which has ports on the Black Sea and Danube River, is introducing a new export control mechanism for grain, regional governor Oleh Kiper said on Thursday.

"From now on, vessels (barges) will be loaded only after a preliminary analysis of the legality of the grain's origin," he said, adding that all customs declarations would have to be registered prior to the loading of export goods.

The measure is aimed at strengthening discipline, accounting and reporting in foreign economic activity, he said.

Analysts have said that a significant amount of grain is bought for cash under deals that are not fully transparent, reducing revenues to the state budget, which is forced to spend the lion's share of revenues on military needs.

Farmers are trying to cut costs as much as possible because they are severely affected by low domestic prices caused by the difficulties they face trying to export grain following Russia's invasion in February 2022.

"During the martial law period (following Russia's invasion), each of us must contribute to the Victory (over Russia), and our economy needs support now," Kiper said.

Ukraine is a major global grain grower and exporter and normally ships millions of metric tons of food from its deep-water Black Sea ports of Odesa and Mykolaiv.

But Kyiv has had to rely on its Danube river delta ports in the southwest corner of Ukraine since Russia abandoned its part in the year-old, safe-passage Black Sea grain export deal.

Ukrainian harvest and exports have been affected since Russia quit the deal last month.

(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka and Kyiv newsroom, Editing by Timothy Heritage)