Ukraine has launched the "Grain From Ukraine'' scheme on Holodomor Memorial Day, the Kyiv Independent reported on November 27.
The initiative will see the delivery of grain to countries in the Global South including Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. As many as 60 cargo ships carrying crucial grain deliveries could be sent in the first six months of 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
“Even as the country struggles with food shortages, devastated farmland and widespread blackouts, we will never forget our role as a responsible global citizen,” Zelenskiy said, the Guardian reported.
Ukraine is a major global supplier of grain worldwide; however, Russia blocked naval exports from Ukraine’s sea ports, escalating a global food crisis. Despite the signing and extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July, freeing several key Ukrainian ports, Ukrainian officials accused Russia of slowing down the process of ship inspection and causing technical difficulties.
Although the deal has seen over 10mn tonnes of grain exported, Russian meddling caused 150 ships to queue in the Black Sea last month, meaning 3mn tonnes of grain was missing, Zelenskiy said.
Speaking to the G20 summit participants earlier this month, Zelenskiy encouraged leaders to join his “Grain from Ukraine” plan, to “help the poorest with food”. Andriy Yermak, the chief of Ukraine’s presidential staff, said that Ukraine will put aside agricultural products that partner countries can then purchase on behalf of countries vulnerable to famine.
“The programme envisages providing grain to at least 5mn people by the end of spring 2023,” Yermak wrote. The initiative will be in partnership with the World Food Programme.
More than 20 countries pledged financial support for the scheme at the International Summit on Food Security in Kyiv on November 26. Around $150mn has been raised with support from Poland, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and Canada.
German Chancellor Olaf said that “hunger must never again be used as a weapon” in a video address on the Holodomor Memorial Day, which remembers the man-made famine under the Soviet leadership that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33.
Already, Ukraine and Germany have co-ordinated a shipment of 27,000 tonnes of wheat for Ethiopia. The shipment should feed 100,000 people for a year.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for another 120 days on November 17.