Kabul: Grain exports from Black Sea ports could resume within weeks after Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to ensure safe passage for cargo ships, UN officials say.
The shipping companies need guarantees to ensure their ships can pass through the waters, which are believed to be mined by the two countries.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, said that the release of 20 million tons of grain from the besieged ports could prevent a food crisis in the world.
The announcement of an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to re-export grain from Black Sea ports caused world wheat prices to fall to their lowest level since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The agreement was reached with the mediation of Turkey and with the presence of representatives from Ukraine and Russia, as well as Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations in Istanbul.
The two countries of Russia and Ukraine negotiated for months under the supervision of Turkey to reach this agreement.
The UN Secretary-General said the agreement is vital for the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine for the war-torn country and for many developing countries at risk of famine.
Ukraine is one of the major grain exporters in the world, which has been disrupted since the Russian attack on the country in February. In this way, the lack of grain has put millions of people in the world at risk of starvation.
The Russian attack also caused a sharp jump in food prices, which is why this agreement to unblock Ukraine’s ports would be a major step in solving the problem. About 20 million tons of grains are stuck in the silos of the coastal city of Odessa.
Ukraine is usually the fourth largest grain exporter in the world. This country usually produces 42% of sunflower oil, 16% of corn and 9% of wheat in the world.
The African Development Bank says that Ukraine and Russia usually supply more than 40 percent of Africa’s wheat.
But the war has led to a shortage of 30 million tons of food in Africa, which has caused a 40% increase in food prices across the continent.
Yemen usually imports more than one million tons of wheat from Ukraine every year.
The United Nations said that the decrease in supply between January and May this year caused the price of flour to increase by 42% and bread by 25% in this country.