The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-brokered deal aimed at supplying markets with food and fertilizer amid global shortages and rising prices, exacerbated by the Ukraine war, was extended on Saturday, the day it was due to expire.
The announcement was made in a Note to Correspondents, released by the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson’s office on Saturday, which emphasized that the Initiative allows for the “facilitation of the safe navigation for the exports of grain and related foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from designated Ukrainian seaports.”
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February 2022, the Initiative has been one of the few areas in which the Russian and Ukrainian governments have been able to reach agreement. It came about in response to the sharp increase in prices for food and fertilizers around the world: Russia and Ukraine are the main suppliers of these products to world markets, and their ability to export was significantly curtailed once hostilities began.
Since the signing of the Initiative in July 2022, some 25 million metric tons of grains and foodstuffs have been moved to 45 countries, and the initiative has been credited with helping to calm global food prices, which reached vertiginous highs in March 2022. Following the implementation of the Initiative, prices began to fall and, a year later, had dropped some 18 per cent.
The deal was mediated by the UN and the Government of Turkiye, which was thanked in the statement for its diplomatic and operational support: as part of the agreement, a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) was established in Istanbul, to monitor the implementation of the Initiative.
The Note to Correspondents reaffirmed the UN’s strong commitment to both agreements, and described the Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets, as “critical for global food security, especially for developing countries.”