War-torn Ukraine has committed to delivering almost 70,000 tonnes of grain to three African countries via its recently opened Black Sea corridor.
In a meeting with his German counterpart, Ukraine’s Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Mykola Solskyi, said that as part of President Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative it planned to send 25,000 tonnes of grain to Nigeria, 32,000 tonnes to Sudan and 12,500 tonnes to Somalia.
News agency Reuters quoted Solskyi as saying that about 700,000 tonnes of grain have been shipped through the Black Sea export corridor since it began operating in August.
The corridor is intended to circumvent a blockade after Russia abandoned a deal this summer that had guaranteed the export of Black Sea grain – much of which is intended for poorer nations.
A Ukrainian government statement said more than 20 ships with cargoes including agricultural products left the ports of Odesa in September-October.
In another meeting, this time with his Spanish counterpart, Solskyi said that work was being done to increase the volume of agricultural exports.
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He said the volume of transit of agricultural products through the Danube and Romanian ports, such as Constanța, is also increasing.
At the same time, Solskyi noted that port infrastructure was suffering from constant shelling from the Russians, who invaded Ukraine in February last year.
The Black Sea export deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey collapsed in July after Russia complained its demand that sanctions on its grain and fertiliser exports be lifted as a quid pro quo for the deal continuing had not been met.
Ukraine’s attempts to export grain via overland routes have suffered from import bans in a number of neighbouring countries, which are concerned about the impact on their domestic farming industry from bulk imports of cheaper Ukrainian grain.