According to an export agreement mediated by the United Nations and Turkey, 27 ships carrying grain have departed Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea since August 1.
Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s Defense Minister, praised the agreement on Saturday, saying it provided the “groundwork for a permanent peace environment.”
“Since August 1, a total of 53 vessels have sailed for grain shipments, 27 of which have departed from Ukrainian ports,” Hulusi Akar stated besides United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres at Istanbul’s Joint Coordination Center (JCC).
Ukrainian grain and fertiliser exports to the Black Sea are supervised by a centre made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and UN officials.
More than 650,000 metric tonnes of grain and other food “are already on their way to markets around the world,” according to Guterres, who had earlier examined the ship SSI Invincible II before it cruised to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk.
Both Akar and Guterres emphasised the significance of these exports as they would aid in resolving the global food crisis, particularly by bringing down prices.
Russia and Ukraine are key sources of critical fertiliser components such as urea, potash, and phosphate. Guterres emphasised the necessity of distributing these components and the potential consequences of global shortages if their distribution is hindered.
“Without fertiliser in 2022, there may be insufficient food in 2023. Getting more food and fertiliser out of Ukraine and Russia is critical to calming commodity markets and lowering consumer prices”
“We are at the start of a much longer process,” Guterres added, “but you have already demonstrated the potential of this critical agreement for the world.”
The historic deal, mediated by the UN and Turkey and signed by Russian and Ukrainian officials in July, pledged to open Black Sea ports to allow the secure transit of grain and oilseeds, using routes delineated by Ukrainian maritime pilots to prevent mines and stopping in Istanbul to avert the smuggling of weapons within the country.
The Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports caused grain commodity prices to reach record highs this year as more than 20 million metric tonnes of Ukraine’s corn and wheat remained stranded in Odesa. The arrangement came due to months of diplomatic efforts which raised optimism throughout the world.
Following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday in the western city of Lviv, Guterres declared that there were indications that the deal was starting to stabilise the world’s food markets.
Later, he urged industrialised and rich countries to assist developing nations in acquiring grain. “The movement of grains doesn’t mean much to countries that cannot afford it,” Guterres remarked on Friday in Odesa.
“It is time for massive and generous support so developing countries can purchase the food from this and other ports — and people can buy it. Developing countries need access to financing — now. They need debt relief — now. They need resources to invest in their people — now,” he continued.
According to the World Food Programme, global hunger has increased dramatically, from 135 million people experiencing serious food insecurity in 2019 to 345 million in 2022. (WFP).
It involves “50 million people in 45 countries that are knocking on famine’s door”
WFP executive director David Beasley informed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 20 that other donor countries, such as Gulf states, must join in to “avert catastrophe.”
The current situation is significantly worse than the previous food price surges of 2007 to 2008 and 2010 to 2012, which also spurred global protests, including uprisings in the Middle East.
Food security specialists have warned of grave geopolitical consequences if nothing is done.
This year has already witnessed grave economic instability in nations such as Sri Lanka, Mali, Chad, and Burkina Faso, as well as riots and protests in Kenya, Peru, Pakistan, and Indonesia, all of which indicate that the crisis may worsen if immediate steps are not taken to address the situation.j
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