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Ukraine Food Exporter Forced to Barter as War Cuts Off Cash

  • Astarta isn’t getting paid for its sugar, grains and milk: CEO
  • Government promises aid to help sowing in Europe’s breadbasket
A cargo ship is loaded with grain at the Port of Mariupol in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Jan. 13.
A cargo ship is loaded with grain at the Port of Mariupol in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Jan. 13.Photographer: Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg

Astarta Holding NV, one of Ukraine’s biggest agriculture exporters, faces a cash crunch so severe it’s now using barter after Russia’s invasion cut off access to ports and left warehouses and equipment destroyed.

“The flow of cash for supplied products has stopped; even purchased grain was not paid for,” Chief Executive Officer Viktor Ivanchyk said in an interview from Kyiv, where he’s still working at the headquarters of the sugar, grains and milk producer. “There were quite big delays because many multinational traders evacuated their staff and payments stopped.”