The three Ukrainian ports in Odesa are ramping up grain exports now that they are free to ship, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is funding some of that new activity.
The three Ukrainian ports in Odesa are ramping up grain exports now that they are free to ship and the U.S. Agency for International Development is funding some of that new activity. USAID Administrator Samantha Power says the agency is purchasing and shipping Ukrainian wheat to help respond to the growing global food crisis.
The first vessel carrying some of that aid – 23,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat – left the Port of Pivdennyi Tuesday and is heading to countries in the Horn of Africa, where drought and conflict are causing acute food shortages that have been acerbated by the inability to import affordable grain from Ukraine.
On top of that, USAID has committed to purchasing another 150,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat.
“This relief is critical,” said Power. “Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine was one of (the World Food Program’s) top suppliers of grain and the fourth largest commercial exporter of wheat. Putin’s war on Ukraine has caused food and fuel prices to spike globally and contributed to staggering levels of food insecurity.”
The United Nations brokered a deal that was ratified on July 22 by Ukraine, Russia and Turkey to allow three Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi (also known as Yuzhny) – to resume operations after idling for five months.
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The agreement to allow the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through three of its major Black Sea ports threatened to fall apart just 24 hours after it was signed when Russian missiles hit a grain storage facility and other infrastructure in Odesa, but Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared soon afterward the agreement would hold.
As of Aug. 13, Ukraine had exported about 500,000 tons of corn, wheat and other ag commodities through the three ports in the Odesa province and traffic appears to be continuing strong. Five vessels left Odesa ports Tuesday, according to the consulting firm APK Inform.
“Getting the Black Sea Ports open is the single most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
“It will take more than grain ships out of Ukraine to stop world hunger, but with Ukrainian grain back on global markets we have a chance to stop this global food crisis from spiraling even further.”
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