As food crisis continue to wreak havoc in the continent owing to the protracted Russia-Ukraine warfare, the long-awaited ship carrying tons of grain to Africa has finally set forth.
This is a major breakthrough in efforts to get much-needed Ukrainian grain out of the conflict-hit country, back into global markets, and to countries worst affected by the global food crisis especially in Africa and the Middle-East.
The shipment of 23 000 metric tons of wheat grain will go to the World Food Programme’s (WFP’s) humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa where the threat of famine is escalating. The shipment was supposed to make significant sailing progress in time had it not got stuck in the war-torn European county at the port of Pivdennyi amid a Russian blockade inhibiting its free passage. The grain that is enroute to Africa is being transported in a Lebanese-flagged bulk carrier Brave Commander.
Tweeting on his timeline on the 13th of August, the Ukraine Infrastructure Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov indicated that “The cargo ship Brave Commander arrived at the Pivdennyi Sea Port. Very soon Ukrainian grain will be delivered to Ethiopia.”
Report says, once loaded the MV Brave Commander will carry a shipment of Ukrainian grain organised by the World Food Programme to Ethiopia via a grain corridor through the Black Sea brokered by the U.N. and Turkey in late July.
“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,” added Beasley.
The dip in grain exports from Ukraine since the start of the war has driven up global food prices, sparking fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East. While a number of ships have now left Ukraine carrying agricultural products, the Brave Commander is the first chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Seventeen ships have left Ukrainian ports loaded with some 475,000 tons of agricultural products since the first vessel departed at the beginning of August. However, the previous shipments were all commercial. The Brave Commander cargo which left from Pivdennyi Seaport in the city of Yuzhne is the first shipment of its kind as part of a program to help countries facing famine.
The Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, which is in charge of shipments, said the grain was destined for consumers in Ethiopia, one of five countries that the UN considers most at risk from famine. “The ministry and the United Nations are working on ways to increase food supplies for the socially vulnerable sections of the African population," the ministry said in a statement.
The progress made thus far follows a July 22nd deal involving the UN, Russia, and Ukraine July 22 in which parties agreed to reopen three Ukrainian ports - Odessa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny for grain that has been stuck for months because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month. The war has negatively impacted on the social and economic lifestyle of most Africans since food prices are now beyond reach of many.