Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be halved due to the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Sunday, putting the global food crisis in focus.
Zelenskyy noted that Kyiv’s main goal is to prevent a global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion since the Black Sea standstill has led to soaring food prices and fears that millions will go hungry worldwide.
Ukraine is one of the world’s most fertile countries and the second-largest supplier of grain for the European Union in 2021 and for many years before. It alone produced last year 80 MMT of grain – including wheat, corn, and barley – which is enough to feed more than 400 million people for almost half a year.
If Zelenskyy dark prognosis for 2022 come true, that would be enough for the population of a country like the UK to stop eating for three years.
Although Russia and Ukraine signed a deal earlier this month to reopen grain and fertilizer exports blocked by the five-month war, Russian missiles hit the port of Odesa less than 24 hours later, raising doubts about Moscow’s commitment.
Another agreement, brokered by Turkey and the UN on July 22 and compiled by the Turkish, Russian, and Ukrainian military officials with a UN team at a Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain out of three southern Ukrainian ports.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday that according to the detailed negotiation based on the agreement with standard operating procedures, the loaded vessels are due to sail this week.
They have been offered up to $50 million in insurance, by insurance market Lloyd’s of London’s underwriter Ascot and broker Marsh in a bid to safeguard their passage and help ease the mounting pressure on global food supplies.