Ukraine seeks support for Africa grain deliveries

AFP , Tuesday 7 Mar 2023

Ukraine on Tuesday appealed for international efforts to keep open Black Sea shipping lanes used to carry millions of tonnes of grain to African nations.

A farmer collects harvest on his field ten kilometres from the front line where fierce battle is goi
A farmer collects harvest on his field ten kilometres from the front line where fierce battle is going between Ukrainian troops and Russian invaders in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, Monday, July 4, 2022. AP


A Ukrainian envoy told the Least Developed Countries summit in Doha that 2.7 million tonnes of grain have been shipped since November.

The Kyiv government at that time launched its Grain from Ukraine programme, mainly for poorer African states.

Ukraine plans to send at least 60 more vessels "to the most affected by hunger and drought countries across Africa and Asia," added Maksym Subkh, Ukraine's special envoy to the Middle East and Africa.

The world's poorest nations have faced the "heaviest burden" from Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Subkh said.

Both countries are among the world's top grain exporters.

Russia imposed a blockade of Ukrainian ports until the United Nations with Turkey brokered a deal to allow grain shipments to resume in July.

The blockade fuelled the inflation of food prices in many countries and Subkh said, "The war has aggravated the food crisis across the globe."

Western governments and the European Union have donated more than $150 million to the Grain from Ukraine programme that partly aims to counter Russia's claims that Ukraine was largely to blame for the international food crisis.

Subkh called on United Nations members to "unite efforts for ensuring of uninterrupted functioning of the Black Sea grain corridor."

He said Russia "has hinted" that it is ready to impose a new blockade.

Under the July deal known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia in turn was promised the right to export fertiliser free of Western sanctions. Moscow insists that part of the agreement is not being respected.

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