Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported late last week that, “Negotiations will start in a week on extending a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia after its invasion, a senior Ukrainian official said on Friday.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports.
“The agreement was extended by a further 120 days in November and is up for renewal again in March, but Russia has signalled that it is unhappy with some aspects of the deal and has asked for sanctions affecting its agricultural exports to be lifted.”
The Reuters article pointed out that, “Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of delaying inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian agricultural goods, leading to reduced shipments and losses for traders.”
This week, Reuters writer Lidia Kelly reported that, “Turkish and Russian leaders may soon discuss a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, but there is no date set yet, a source familiar with the negotiations on the deal told RIA Novosti on Monday.
“Broader negotiations on extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative that has allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports are expected this week, Ukraine said.”
Reuters writer John Irish reported over the weekend that, “Failure to renew a U.N.-backed initiative that has enabled Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia would be catastrophic as millions in Africa are on the cusp of famine, the head of the U.N. food agency warned on Saturday.”
“‘It’s critical,‘ World Food Programme (WFP) Director David Beasley told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Forum.
“‘With all the crises we are facing around the world with climate change, droughts, flash floods, we can’t afford the Black Sea Grain initiative to fall through at all,’ Beasley added.”
Writing in Monday’s Los Angeles Times, Associated Press writer Courtney Bonnell reported that,
The amount of grain leaving Ukraine has dropped even as a United Nations-brokered deal works to keep food flowing to developing nations, with inspections of ships falling to half what they were four months ago and a backlog of vessels growing as Russia’s invasion nears the one-year mark.
“Ukrainian and some U.S. officials are blaming Russia for slowing down inspections, which Moscow has denied. Less wheat, barley and other grain getting out of Ukraine, dubbed the ‘breadbasket of the world,’ raises concerns about the effect on those going hungry in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia — places that rely on affordable food supplies from the Black Sea region.”
“Under the deal, food exports from three Ukrainian ports have dropped from 3.7 million metric tons in December to 3 million in January, according to the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.”
“U.N. officials say they have been working to unstick Russian fertilizer and expressed hope that the deal will be extended,” the article said.
On Wednesday, Reuters News reported that, “Ukraine will ask Turkey and the United Nations this week to start talks to roll over the Black Sea grain deal, seeking an extension of at least one year that would include the ports of Mykolaiv, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.”
Also Wednesday, Yusuf Khan reported at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “The Ukrainian Grain Association last week said that the number of ships waiting for inspection had now risen to more than 140, up from fewer than 100 ships at the start of the year. It said Russia had deliberately delayed ship inspections to destabilize supplies, turning food into a weapon.”
Meanwhile, Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported this week that, “Ukraine grain exports are down 28.7% at 30.3 million tonnes in the 2022/23 season so far, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion, agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.”
And in a separate Reuters article last week, Polityuk reported that, “Ukrainian farms have harvested 53.9 million tonnes of grain in bunker weight from 98% of the expected area, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.”