02 August 2022

Experts to QNA: Ukrainian Grain Export Agreement Lowers Food Prices Globally, Reduces Hunger

Local
  • QATAR
  • QATAR

Doha, August 02 (QNA) - The first ship loaded with food grains sailed Monday from the Ukrainian port of Odessa in implementation of the Istanbul agreement, in which Turkish and UN mediation succeeded in persuading Russia and Ukraine to sign an agreement to reopen the ports of Ukraine and ship grain through the Black Sea.
Experts expected that the Ukrainian grain export agreement will positively reflect on calming food prices globally, and on countries suffering from food crises in the region in particular, in addition to achieving a win-win equation, as Ukraine will reap the financial returns it needs, and Russia will achieve economic and political gains regarding the exclusion of its agricultural products and fertilizers from Western sanctions. The experts' expectations were also affected by Russia's confirmation in regard to its denial of blockading Ukrainian ports to prevent export, while Turkey has diplomatically succeeded in crowning an agreement that contributes globally to reducing hunger, which enhances the chances of its success as an effective mediator in settling the war in Ukraine, as the benefit extends to all Ukrainian food buyers over the globe.
On July 27, Turkey opened a joint coordination center in Istanbul to monitor the implementation of the suspended grain shipment from Ukrainian ports, with the participation of Russian and Ukrainian military representatives and in the presence of representatives from the United Nations, with the aim of securing the output of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to world markets.
The agreement is valid for an expendable period of 120 days, and allows the export of 20-25 million tons of grain from three ports in the Odessa province of southern Ukraine.
Agricultural expert and Executive Director of Agrico Farm Nasser Ahmed Al Khalaf said that the success of the agreement deal in calming food prices and reducing hunger depends on the method of implementation, noting that if a clear program that includes receiving stocks, packing and controlling ships, export destinations, distribution methods to countries and selling prices were to be developed, the announced quantity will be reflected positively on calming food prices and can contribute, among other factors, to reducing the global food crisis.
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Khalaf added that the military operation in Ukraine has cast more repercussions on the global food sector, especially since Russia and Ukraine are considered major food producers and exporters in the world, which is why any settlement of the war or addressing of the situation to allow the export of grain would create a good impact on reducing food prices and reaching the poorest countries, especially since the amount intended for export ranges from 20 to 25 million tons, which is a large amount in weight at the global food level.
Al Khalaf asked whether agricultural products from cereals and oils will be distributed fairly among the countries of the world, pointing out that in case it was done fairly in a way where poor and developing countries get their share, this will undoubtedly have a significant impact on calming food prices and reducing hunger. If the amount is acquired by rich countries with money and influence, and proceed with the same ways of getting COVID-19 vaccine, the needed results in the level of prices will not be achieved, he added, indicating that it will also put the international community in an ethical test to confirm its capabilities to distribute grains fairly, and the motives of the agreement came mainly from the need for food products in poor, starving countries.
On July 22, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations signed an agreement on the 'Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports', as the signing ceremony of which took place in Istanbul. The agreement guarantees the security of grain exports stuck in Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea to the world.
In turn, Businessperson and former Vice President of Qatar Chamber Abdulaziz Al Emadi likened the impact of the agreement and pressure at least partially on food prices, pointing out that wheat prices dropped by about 5% after the signing of the Ukrainian grain export agreement, and that the needed effect on prices will be achieved if the export process proceeded successfully as planned.
In a statement, Al Emadi told QNA that Arab countries will be among the beneficiaries of the export of Ukrainian grain, especially in case Ukraine commits to deal with its partners before the war, noting that many countries in the region rely mainly on Ukraine and Russia for their food imports of wheat and oils and are therefore candidates for their share of the agreement.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stressed that the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports for the first time constitutes a "breakthrough for the world." In a post on Twitter Kuleba said: "it is a day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia and Africa," adding "Ukraine has always been a reliable partner and will remain one should Russia respects its part of the deal." The World Food Program (WFP) expressed its optimism about the deal to export food products and reopen Ukrainian ports, warning that the agreement alone would not solve the global food crisis, even if it was effectively implemented.
Ukraine is one of the world's food suppliers, as it is the fourth largest wheat exporter in the world and produces about 9% of world production, in addition to about 16% of corn production, and about 42% of World sunflower oil production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Ukraine's exports are of great importance for food-scarce countries in Africa, Asia and some countries in the Middle East.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the sailing of the first ship loaded with tons of grain since Feb. 26, expressing the hope that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in line with the initiative that was signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts. Guterres noted that ensuring the transportation of available grain and foodstuffs to global markets is a "humanitarian duty." The European Union also welcomed the move, considering it a "welcome first step" to alleviate the food crisis caused by the Russian military operation in Ukraine, while looking forward to the "full implementation of the agreement." (QNA)

Keywords

Economy, Qatar
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