STORY: Black Sea Grain Initiative – Part 2
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 30 September 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
At its 2-months mark, around 5 ½ million tons of grain and other foodstuffs were moved under the Black Sea Grain Initiative on about 255 ships from three key Ukrainian ports (Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi) to their final destinations worldwide. With the current pace, some 4-5 million tons of Ukrainian grain could be transported monthly through a safe maritime humanitarian corridor to the global markets.
“(The) Black Sea Grain Initiative for Ukraine, for me personally, for the city of Odesa, for the whole world it’s a very very important agreement”, said Dmytro Barinov, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Seaport Authority. “It gives the possibility to get Ukrainian farmers money for their products, for their workers, port workers to work and get their salary. The people around the world get their food, feed their families. For the international community to give some normalization to the food crisis. People open their stock as they realize that Ukraine returns on the agricultural market”.
The Black Sea Deal is not just significant to get food to the markets and bring prices down, but also providing an avenue for farmers who produce grain and other crops in Ukraine to see it exported so that it empties their warehouses and their next crop can come in.
“Having that corridor open, knowing that these huge stocks that are available can get to the market is impacting the market in many ways”, said Amir Abdulla, UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He added saying that “if we do not have these food stocks get out of the markets, if farmers don’t see their food exported, or they see the risk that their next harvest will be lost in the fields, that will lose the incentive for them and it’s just not the next harvest , it’s the one after that that is at risk and so we sometimes see the price not just as providing food to markets, but we see it as an initiative that will save the next crop”.
Although there are other ways of transportation to get Ukrainian commodities out of the country, the sheer volumes than can come on a maritime corridor shows that it’s the cheapest and most efficient way to move commodities in large quantities.
“We have alternatives, we have land borders, we cross it by railway, by trucks, at the Danube ports”, said the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Seaport Authority. “But, for sure, we can’t change the Black Sea biggest port for the smallest port on the Danube River. That’s why for the world, for the World Food Programme, for the poor countries, it’s very very important that this corridor is still working”.
One part of the initiative, to move fertilizer as one of the key commodities along the corridor, hasn’t been managed yet.
“Getting fertilizer and ammonia - to produce fertilizer - through this corridor is going to be hugely important, not just because we need to get these commodities out, but they are going to be crucial to how much food is available, next year, next season”, said Amir Abdulla. “The seasons and the crops that have been planted now, when they come to their harvest season, if they have not had adequate and sufficient fertilizer at reasonable prices, we are going to see scarcer availability and higher prices of food”.
In 2 months, by mid-November, the current Initiative may extend beyond its initial 120 days after the signing date of 22 July, if parties so choose.
“If we can keep this corridor open, it will make a huge difference to the worlds market and prices availability and for everybody”, emphasized the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Deal. “And to the people to whom it matters most, those who are really at the lower end of the economic scale that’s where it matters most, because when food prices go up, marginally or even significantly, the people who get impacted most are the people who have the least purchasing power”.