Ukraine says over 60% of grain exports destined for Asia, Africa
Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 8 (EFE).- Two thirds of the grain that has already left Ukraine under a UN-backed deal to unblock exports from Black Sea ports are destined for Asian and African countries, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
“The recovery of Ukrainian food exports through the grain corridor has had a positive effect on the reduction of prices on the food market,” foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement.
He added that this was fundamental in softening the impact of the food crisis on populations of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Since Ukrainian grain exports resumed in August, vessels filled with grain have sailed to Egypt, Yemen, Israel, Iran, India, China, the Republic of Korea, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Turkey and EU countries, the minister said.
Kuleba noted that the Russian aggression, which involved a blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and the deliberate destruction of its agricultural infrastructure and logistics, was the only cause of the world food crisis this year.
The foreign minister’s statement came after Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed only a small fraction of the exported Ukrainian grain had gone to the poorest countries, while most of it was allegedly transported to the EU.
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, who sponsored the landmark deal, agreed with Putin and said that the grain was going to “rich countries”.
According to Ukraine’s ministry of infrastructure, as of Wednesday, almost 2.37 million tons of agricultural products had been exported since the deal came into effect.
Over 50 vessels carrying 1.04 million tons of grain arrived in Asian countries, 32 vessels loaded with 0.85 million tons went to Europe and 16 vessels delivered 0.47 million tons to Africa, according to official data.
Two vessels chartered directly by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have also been dispatched with more than 60,000 tons of wheat on board for the people of Yemen and Ethiopia.
Kuleba called on other states and private investors to join the procurement of grain for Africa in order to significantly increase the volume of supplies of agricultural products.
According to the ministry, statements by Russia on the export of Ukrainian grain are an “undisguised use of the tragedy of the famine for political purposes”.EFE