Black Sea grain deal keeps global food supplies flowing: WFP

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Black Sea grain deal keeps global food supplies flowing: WFP
Black Sea grain deal keeps global food supplies flowing: WFP

Africa-Press – Eritrea. The Black Sea grain deal, which was set to expire May 18 but was extended for two months, is important to keep global food supplies flowing and stabilize markets for all customers, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

“We don’t see prices rising again and hitting the poorest people the hardest,” the UN organization told Anadolu, underlining that the continuation of the initiative was good news for the entire world.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the deal’s extension earlier this week after talks with Kyiv and Moscow.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed the initial agreement in Istanbul last July to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were halted after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022.

A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

More than 30 million tons of grain have been transported by more than 950 ships as part of the deal.

Russia aims to boost grain exports by preventing Ukraine

The continuation of the deal is important for the uninterrupted operation of global food supply chains, especially for countries in need, said Eren Gunhan Ulusoy, director of the International Association of Operative Millers Eurasia.

There is an expectation of 787 million tons of grain production and 794 million tons of consumption for the 2023- 24 season in the world, he told Anadolu.

Ukraine delivered 30.2 million tons of grain to the world through the grain corridor, he added, underlining that the route would only grow in importance come August-September.

“The grain corridor has been extended three times to date,” said Ulusoy, also noting that in the last extension, Russia insisted that only 60 days be added to its duration.

“Since Russia’s demands to facilitate the export of its grain were not met, each extension further aggravates the conditions for the corridor because Russia saw high wheat production last season and wants to increase its exports to world markets.”

At this point, Russia wanted to prevent competition from Ukraine by closing or slowing down the corridor, but its continuation with Türkiye’s work and mediation is very positive news for the whole world, he added.

Russia wants to stop wheat price decline

Haluk Tezcan, the head of the Turkish Flour Industrialists’ Federation (TFIF), said the country’s efforts were important for the rest of the world, especially nations that have difficulties accessing basic food products.

Pointing to the coronavirus pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, he said those kinds of problems caused price fluctuations and inflation in food.

“With the grain corridor, a serious advantage was gained in terms of product accessibility and price — the price for both underdeveloped and developed countries to reach bread has decreased,” he said.

Tezcan stressed that Russia sees wheat as a strategic product and wants to keep prices at a certain level, as is the case with oil, preventing a significant decrease in its price.

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