Food Prices Up After Russia Pulls Plug on Black Sea Grain Deal

Global food prices rose for the first time in months following the collapse of the landmark agreement to ship grain from war-torn Ukraine to the rest of the world, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said on Friday, August 4, 2023.

Russia's decision to terminate the Black Sea Initiative on July 17, 2023 ended a "lifeline" for hundreds of millions worldwide facing hunger and spiralling food costs, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the time.

Russia's withdrawal was expected to hit food prices heavily, particularly in developing nations such as in Africa, where rising food and fuel prices have led to an outcry in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and elsewhere.

The Russia initiatve which was in effect for one year, allowed for the safe passage of Ukrainian ships transporting wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food that developing nations rely on. Russia who is also a large supplier of these goods, said it "could not guarantee the safety" of the Ukrainian vessels. Russia has been at war with the Ukraine for over two years, and the conflict has also caused a slow down in the supply of wheat and other commodities.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has also seen a drastic increase in the price of food worldwide.

Food insecurity has also increased as a result of climate change, drought and conflict and is leading to widespread starvation in Africa.

At the Russia-Africa Summit held recently in St. Petersburg Russia, President Vladimir Putin promised free grain to attending African leaders.


A truck unloads corn grains at a grain processing factory in Skvyra, Ukraine (file photo).

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