By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Giving the growing acute hunger ravaging the less developed economies which is also having a spill -over effect on the developed economies, due to the five month –old war between Russia Federation and Ukraine, that has claimed the lives of thousands of people and displaced millions in Ukrainians, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations, UN, Secretary General, and Reccep Tayyip Edogan, the Turkish President have brokered a grain deal between the two warring countries to save the world from food hunger.
Dmytro Kuleba,the Ukrainian Foreign minister had made the International Community to know that ‘’ the country’s share of the global food market is enormous’’. According to him, the country provides 10 of the world’ wheat, 14% of the world’s corn, 47% of the world’s Sunflower Oil. . He noted that a little less than one-fifth of its grain exports goes to Western Europe, a quarter goes to Africa and Asia each, one sixth to the Middle East and one-seventh to the south east Asia.
Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign minister, was said to have repeatedly made African Leaders to believe that ‘’Russian’s unprovoked attack on the country on February 24, 2022, till date, has contributed’’ to the challenges in global food insecurity in the Continent’’. He asserted that for many years Ukraine has been a ‘’reliable and trustworthy partner of African states, in Agricultural trade’’ .
Reeling out figures to confirm his claims, he had said that Libya alone, imports 44% of its wheat consumption from Ukraine, Tunisia, 42%, Egypt and Ethiopia 26% each, while Morocco imports 15% of its wheat consumption from the country.
He may have exonerated Ukraine from withholding the export of its Agricultural products to the global market, blaming it on Russia blockade of the country’s ports This may have informed why he had said that’’ the country need to make money on the global market by selling our Agricultural products and supplying them to the consuming nations’’. Note that the Financial losses to Ukraine grain exporters is estimated at $200 million in a day in March through May, 2022, alone. This is because the country’s grain exports had dropped to one-sixth of its pre-war level.
In signing the grain deal to reopen the blocked Black sea grain routes, Sergei Shoigy, Russian minister of Defence was said to have signed the Agreement on behalf of the country while Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukrainian minister of Infrastructure signed for his country. The duo may not have been brought to a round table discussion to sign the grain deal but were said to have signed separate but identical agreements with the UN and the Turkish government on the ‘’reopening the blocked black Sea grain delivery routes’’.
Going by the Agreement, which aims ‘’to avert famine by injecting more wheat , sunflower oil , fertilizer and other products into the world food markets, and also meeting the world Humanitarian needs. The two warring countries, particular, Ukraine was said to have targeted its pre-war level of five million metric ton of grain export monthly into the global food market.
Recall that Agricultural experts have long warned of a looming global food crisis‘’if Ukrainian grain exports remain blocked by Russian military in the Black Sea’’. They noted that for the country to start the shipment of its grain to the global markets it needs to empty its silos first, ahead of the coming harvests. Indeed, with the two parties signing the grain deal to save the lives of over 47 million people , the world-over now at the state of ‘’acute hunger’’ due to the fallout from the war, there are indications that the first shipment of the backlog of millions of tonnes of the Ukranian grain would be a test of implementation of the deal in the coming weeks to the global food markets.
An elated Guteres, the UN, Secretary General, had said that the deal would open the doorway to commercial food exports from the Ukrainian ports of OOdesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhnny to the global food markets.
Perhaps to ensure that ships that may be carrying the grain cargoes are not attacked on the Black Sea, may have informed why the deal included a ‘’a defacto ceasefire’’ for the ships and facilities covered’’. Giving an insider information on how the grain deal will be implemented, Guterres, the UN, Secretary General had said that ‘’there will be a Joint Control Center , JCCC, in Istabul, Capital of Turkey, which will schedule and mnitor the shipments. He disclosed that the JCC, will be staffed by of the World body and military personnel from the two warring countries to avoid exposing the ocean-going vessels to danger.
Until the two warring countries agreed on the rain deal, Ukraine has mined the waters near the ports as part of its defences. The UN, Secretay General, had told the International Community that they have no reason to fear about the safe Navigation of the ships because Ukrainian Pilots will guide the ships along safe channels in its waters , with a mine- sweeper vessel on hand as needed, but no military escorts to avoid drawing the attention of the Russian military to attack he ships.
According to Guterres, the ships on transit from the Black sea to the Turkish port of Bosphrous Strait and off to global food markets, will be monitored by the JCC personnel. The two countries were said to have agreed that that ‘’there will be no attacks on these ships’’ The good news was that that , ‘’if a prohibited activity is observed , it will be the responsibility of the JCC personnel to resolve it instead of allowing it to escalate to a crisis situation.
Shoigu, Russia minister of Defence, may have spoken the mind of Putin, when he said that that he Kremlin will not take advantage of the fact that the ports will be demined and reopened or business to attack ocean-going vessels approaching the ports but Kuleba, Ukraine Foreign Affairs minister fears that Russian Federation military may keep to the grain deal. Hear him: Kyiv trusts the UN, not Russian to keep to the grain deal.
He is right. Barely 24 hours after the signing of the grain deal, Russian missiles had hit Ukraine’s Odesa port, one of the ports earmarked will be used for the shipment of grain to Turkey port of Bosphorous Strait for onward shipment to the global food market.
In spite of the reported attacks on the Odesa seaport, Guterres, the UN, Secretary General, who unequivocally had condemned it had said that the Ukrainian government has no reason to fear of future attacks as ‘’there is a beacon of hope of the five month-old war coming to an end after the unprecedented agreement was finalized’’. He was said to have said that ‘’the grain deal is a big relief to the world because the people needs it more than ever to avoid a food shortage catastrophe for millions worldwide’’.
Informed sources told The Value News that the grain deal between the two warring countries is valid for four months and will be automatically renewed unless the war ends which may not be likely for now as Russian is still launching missiles at the on Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Reacting to the rain deal, between Russia and Ukraine, Recep Tyyip Edogan, the Turkish President had said that the signing of the grain Agreement was a sign ‘’ there is a renewed hopes for peace between the two warring countries’’. He noted that that ‘’with the ship traffic that will start in the coming days, , Turkey, will open a new breathing tube from the Black sea to many countries of the world’’.
The European Union, EU, much were said to have been hit by the war, had said that it is still committed in helping Ukraine bring as much as its grain into the global food markets as soon as possible’’. The EU, noted that ‘’the Agreement signed by Ukraine , Russia, Turkey and the UN, are a critical intervention step in overcoming the looming global food insecurity cause by Russian of Ukraine’’.
The US, which had championed the various economic sanctions and arming Ukraine military to sustain the war against Russia may have known that world is heading towards looming food crisis that Joe Biden, the country’s President has called on Putin, his Russian Counterpart, ‘’to allow the Ukrainian grain to be exported quickly’’ as he hopes that the Turkish –brokered deal is well-structure enough ‘’ to monitor compliance by the two parties’’. John Kirby the White House spokesperson, who may have spoken the mind of Biden, had said that ‘’the US, President expects the quick implementation of the grain deal’’.
The Leadership of the African Union, AU, are happy that that the two countries involved in the conflict have finally signed a grain deal that would facilitate the exports of Ukraine wheat , Corn, sunflower oil and millions of tonnes of other Agricultural products grown in the country through the Black Sea into the global food markets that would save the vulnerable nations, particular, poor African countries.