Exports of grain from Ukraine to developing countries in the Mediterranean and other regions are set to increase as a result of a new agreement between France and Romania.
Grain exporting is one of many components of the Ukrainian economy that have been severely affected by the ongoing war with Russia. The invasion of the country by Vladimir Putin's forces cut off access to Black Sea ports, which had the knock-on effects of pushing up global food prices and raising concerns around potential supply shortages in regions such as Africa and the Middle East.
Reuters reported that a draft agreement of the deal between France and Romania included measures such as increasing efficiency at Galati, a port on the Danube river near the Romanian border with Ukraine.
The project could also lead to better-equipped border points in northern Romania, more efficient use of grain containers at the port of Constanta and increased capacity in the Sulina canal.
French transport minister Clement Beaune told radio station France Inter: "Tomorrow, I will sign an accord with Romania that will allow Ukraine to get even more grains out ... towards Europe and developing countries, notably in the Mediterranean, which need it for food."
In July, an agreement was signed to resume grain exports from Ukrainian ports. The UN hailed the deal as a "beacon of hope" for easing the food crisis in countries that are in "increasingly desperate need".
Rosemary DiCarlo, under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, said: "The grain agreement is a sign that dialogue between the parties is possible in the search to ease human suffering."
However, Mr Putin recently claimed that only two of a total of 87 ships, carrying some 60,000 tonnes of exported grain products, had transported their cargo to poor countries.
Both the UK and France refuted this claim, with the British Defence Ministry referring to UN figures showing that approximately 30 percent of grain exported under the deal had gone to low- and middle-income nations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.