The first sea shipment of Ukrainian wheat grain to be used for the World Food Programme’s humanitarian operations in Africa left the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi in the port city of Yuzhny on Tuesday.
The departure of the ship is part of the agreement reached between Ukraine and Russia, under the auspices of the United Nations, known as the Black Sea Grain Export Initiative.
The freighter Brave Commander transports 23,000 metric tons of wheat grain destined to cover the humanitarian response of the Program in the Horn of Africa, where the threat of famine looms in this region affected by drought.
“Getting the opening of the Black Sea ports is the most important thing we can do right now to help the world’s hungry people,” said the Executive Director of the Programme.
David Beasley clarified that the shipment will not be enough to end world hunger, but stressed that “with Ukrainian grain back on world markets we have a chance to prevent this global food crisis from escalating further.”
According to the data handled by the Program, a record number of 345 million people in 82 countries are currently facing a serious situation of food insecurity, while about 50 million in 45 nations are on the verge of famine.
The resumption of commercial and humanitarian maritime traffic in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will serve to mitigate some of the global supply disruptions and allow grain storage silos to be emptied before the harvest of the summer season.
Although these developments are positive, the Program highlights that “the world continues to face an unprecedented food crisis” and points to the need for ” immediate action that brings together the humanitarian community, governments and the private sector to save lives and invest in long-term solutions.
If this goal is not achieved, it warns that ” the world’s population will be doomed to devastating famines with destabilizing effects that we will all feel.”
Wheat exports are the result of a close alliance between the private and government sectors.
The Program indicated that the grain shipment would not have been managed without the significant emergency contribution of the Office of Humanitarian Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development, as well as the significant contributions of the long-time collaborator and former goodwill ambassador of the Programme, Howard G. Buffett, and the Minderoo Foundation, the Australian philanthropic organization of Andrew and Nicola Forrest.
The Joint Coordination Center has authorized a total of 36 ship transfers from August 1 to 15 (21 outbound and 15 return). The movements are carried out through a maritime humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea that seeks to facilitate the safe export of grain, food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from Ukrainian ports.