Russia, Ukraine extend grain deal to help world’s poor

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that an unprecedented war deal allowing grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is rife poses a growing threat, and High food prices are driving more and more people into poverty was extended.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted that the deal had been extended by 120 days, but Erdogan had not confirmed the length. Meanwhile, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations had pushed for a 120-day extension Russia wanted to extend for 60 days.

This is the second extension of separate agreements that Ukraine and Russia signed with the United Nations and Turkey allowing food to leave the Black Sea region after Russia invaded its neighbor more than a year ago. The warring nations are both major global suppliers of wheatbarley, sunflower oil and other affordable foods that developing countries depend on.

Russia has complained transport of its fertilizers – also vital to the global food chain – cannot reach global markets, a long-standing issue under the deal, which first came into effect in August and was extended for a further four months in November.

The war in Ukraine sent Food prices are rising to record highs over the past year and contributed to a global food crisis also linked to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate factors such as drought. This disruption to grain supplies, which are staples in countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria, exacerbated economic challenges and helped push millions more into poverty or food insecurity. people in developing countries spend more money on things like groceries.

Food prices have fallen for 11 months in a row, but food was expensive even before the war because of droughts from America to the Middle East – most devastating in the Horn of Africa, with Thousands are dying in Somalia. It is poorer nations that depend on imported food at dollar prices spend more when their currencies weaken.

The crisis has left an estimated 345 million people food insecure, according to the United Nations World Food Program.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative has helped by allowing 24 million tons of grain to leave Ukrainian ports, with 55% of shipments going to developing countries, the UN said.

The deals have also faced setbacks since they were brokered by the UN and Turkey: Russia briefly withdrew in November before rejoining and extending the deal. In recent months, inspections have aimed to ensure that ships are only carrying grain and no weapons slowed down.

This has caused backlogs on vessels waiting in Turkey’s waters and recently reducing the amount of grain Get out of Ukraine.

Ukrainian and some US officials have blamed Russia for the slowdown, which the country denies.

While fertilizers have been stuck, Russia is exporting huge quantities of wheat after a bumper harvest. Figures from financial data provider Refinitiv show that Russian wheat exports more than doubled to 3.8 million tons in January compared to the same month last year before the invasion.

According to Refinitiv, Russian wheat shipments in November, December and January were at or near record highs, up 24% from the same three months a year earlier. It was estimated that Russia would export 44 million tons of wheat between 2022 and 2023.


See AP’s full coverage of the war in Ukraine at and the food crisis

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