Currently, around 345 million people suffer from catastrophic food shortages. 82 countries need food aid (according to the UN). The need for agricultural products in the world is growing every year by 2-3%, and the grain shortage in the markets of Africa and Asia may reach 10-15% already in 2024. The world food market needs to be more flexible, meaning it will be impossible to replace Ukrainian products by diversifying supplies from other countries in the next 4-5 years.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, as a result of the inaugural International Summit, the “Grain from Ukraine” (2022) program accumulated support of approximately 220 million USD. The contribution amount and the count of donor countries are not final. It is planned to increase individual countries’ contributions and attract new nations and donor enterprises to participate in the “Grain from Ukraine” initiative. In cooperation with the UN World Food Program, Ukraine and program partner nations determine the recipient countries of Ukrainian grain among the countries experiencing the acute problem of food shortages. Over 30 countries and international organisations have joined the “Grain from Ukraine” program.
Under this program, Ukraine, partner countries, and private sector donors will deliver Ukrainian grain to countries in Africa and Asia that are facing malnutrition and severe hunger problems. The program should contribute to overcoming the humanitarian and economic consequences of the global food crisis caused by the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Since the initiative’s launch, Ukraine, with the participation of the WFP, has sent 170 thsd tonnes of wheat to countries with the most challenging food situation, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya.
As part of the new program, it is planned to send about 60 vessels with grain to the poorest countries in Africa. The goal is to purchase agricultural products directly from Ukrainian producers and transfer them to countries on the edge of famine.
Ukraine’s agricultural exports are vital for many countries in the African continent. Ukraine has been and remains the world’s top sunflower oil exporter, and Ukraine’s grains constitute a large share of global markets. Before the full-scale war, Ukraine supplied more than 15% of the world’s corn exports, 10% of wheat, 15-20% of barley, and more than 50% of sunflower oil. Despite the grave consequences of the full-scale, unprovoked Russian aggression on the Ukrainian agricultural sector and global food security, Ukraine remains committed to maintaining a crucial role as a food security guarantor.
Therefore, Ukraine launched the Black Sea Grain Initiative last summer, thanks to the efforts of the UN Secretary- General and the President of the Republic of Türkiye. Russia uses the grain corridor as political leverage and has threatened to withdraw from the initiative several times, which it eventually did. In turn, Ukraine launched the "Grain from Ukraine" program in 2022, which provided grain to African countries with Ukrainian and donor money.
Russia’s war has hit hard not only Ukraine but countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and beyond. This is why the “Grain from Ukraine” program is so important. It will help alleviate the acute food insecurity for millions of people across the world. The essence of the program lies in the direct purchase of agricultural products by the participating countries of the project from Ukrainian producers and their transfer to countries on the brink of famine.
Ukraine invites partners to join the program and allocate finances for purchasing vessels with Ukrainian grain that are then shipped to the most vulnerable people and countries free of charge.
Ukraine itself is also donating money from our war-torn budget. This is the main difference from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, where recipient countries had to provide cash for freighting ships and purchasing grain from Ukrainian agrarians.
Ukraine is helping and consulting on grain procurement opportunities in the Ukrainian market. Priority is given to small and medium-sized agricultural companies. Ukraine undertakes assistance in the organisation of logistics (both domestic and export). Partners undertake to arrange the final destination of the aid, pay the cost of the grain, and negotiate the volume of shipments with Ukrainian agricultural producers.
Every country, NGO, or private company could join the “Grain from Ukraine” program. The goal is to contribute to meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of countries currently on the brink of starvation.
The recipients of Ukrainian grain within the framework of this humanitarian program are countries suffering from food shortages, particularly Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Mozambique, and others. As part of the effort, Ukraine has also established the International Hunger Prevention Coordination Group, which includes representatives of governments, corporations, and philanthropists who can directly impact the food needs of millions of people worldwide. The Coordination Group will develop a joint global action roadmap to prevent the global food crisis from worsening. WFP, together with Ukraine and the donor countries, will determine the recipient countries of Ukrainian grain among the countries experiencing the acute problem of food shortages.
Ukraine plans to organize the second “International Summit on Food Security 2023”. The Summit aims to strengthen Ukraine’s role as a guarantor of food security, consolidate efforts to form a global alliance and explore new opportunities to develop alternative logistics options for exporting agricultural products from Ukraine. Even in the conditions of a full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine helps the world guarantee stability and security, standing firm against the chaos and food crisis that have become a consequence of Russian aggression.
The upcoming summit’s extended format will allow us to explore additional opportunities and agree on an algorithm for cooperation in implementing joint projects for grain storage, primary processing, and transporting agricultural products to recipient countries.
Primary Goals and Objectives of the Summit:
• to strengthen the role of Ukraine as a reliable participant in the global food supply and as a partner of WFP;
• to intensify the involvement of international partners in the initiative “Grain from Ukraine”;
• to expand the list of recipient countries;
• to coordinate the international community as an Alliance for Food Security, which will create the necessary leverage to end the food blockade by Russia.
The Ukrainian grain export initiative should be extended indefinitely – regardless of when the war ends.
By the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine materials