Ukraine asks Russia to allow export of grains, other crucial supplies

Thursday October 20 2022
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Kenya Pravednyk Andrii

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Kenya Pravednyk Andrii at the Mombasa port on October 18, 2022 during the offloading of 51,400 tonnes of wheat from his country. He urged Russia to allow the extension of UN’s agreement on Black Sea grain corridor to allow his country to continue supplying grain past November when the agreement comes to an end. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG


The Ukrainian government has asked Russia to respect United Nations (UN) agreements and facilitate the supply of basic commodities to Africa and other countries globally.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Kenya Pravednyk Andrii urged Russia to allow the extension of UN’s agreement on Black Sea grain corridor to allow his country to continue supplying grain past November when the agreement comes to an end.

On July 22, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN signed an agreement in Istanbul that concerns the unblocking of three Ukrainian seaports. Russia signed a mirror agreement with Turkey and the UN, providing assurances of safe and secure passage of the ships, which allowed the shipment of Ukrainian grain and foodstuffs via the Black Sea grain corridor until November this year.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, grain exports from Ukraine, as well as food and fertiliser from Russia, have been significantly hit. The disruption in supplies pushed soaring prices even higher and contributed to a global food crisis. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the UN and Turkey, was set up to reintroduce vital food and fertiliser exports from Ukraine to the rest of the world.

Wheat from Ukraine

Speaking at port of Mombasa in Kenya while witnessing the offloading of the first bulk ship carrier with more than 51,400 tonnes of wheat from Ukraine since Russia launched a military invasion, Mr Andrii said supply of grain to Africa and other countries in the world has been affected, causing a serious shortage.


Mr Andrii said the vessel is one of the three which are expected to supply grain to Kenya to ease the shortage of cereal.

“Since February this year, Ukraine has not exported any grain to Kenya and in the next few days we expect two more ships apart from Mv Super Henry which has docked today at the port of Mombasa,” said the ambassador.

“Ukraine exported to Kenya 355.5 thousand metric tonnes of wheat worth $89.7 million in 2021 but this year Russia has affected supply of grain from Ukraine to Kenya and they will only expect to supply 138 thousand metric tonnes compared to 355 thousand metric tonnes supplied las year,” said Mr Andrii.

Relief to consumers

The ambassador said the wheat supply from Ukraine will bring significant relief to Kenyan consumers, helping to mitigate the prices and remove the current deficit.

Last year, Kenya imported approximately 2.4 million tonnes of wheat, so Ukrainian share comprised around 15 per cent in the overall Kenyan wheat import balance.

As per UN World Food Programme Report of August 2022, tens of millions of people are facing extreme hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and are acutely food insecure, which requires immediate and resolute action. The African countries are dependent on grain imported from Ukraine and also from Russia.

The ambassador said there is need to stress the importance of keeping uninterrupted supply of grain and other agricultural commodities from Ukraine to Kenya.

Since the first ship with Ukrainian grain left port under the agreement on August 1, 7.38 million tonnes of agricultural products have already been exported.

As of October 13, a total of 331 ships with food destined to Africa, Asia and Europe were dispatched from Ukrainian ports.

Safeguard global food security

Mr Andrii said Ukraine is committed to safeguarding global food security and will do everything possible to deliver food to those who need it the most.

Ukraine is one of the top five exporters of wheat, barley, corn, sunflower oil, sunflower seed and normally supplies around 45 million tonnes of grain to the global market every year. But following Russia’s invasion of the country, mountains of grains have built up in silos, with ships unable to secure safe passage to and from Ukrainian ports and land routes unable to compensate for the hitch.

This contributed to a jump in the price of staple foods around the world. Combined with increases in the cost of energy, developing countries were pushed to the brink of debt default and increasing numbers of people found themselves on the brink of famine.