Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, says that grain supplies should be increased to the poorest countries. He pointed out that exports from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are currently being mediated by both Turkey and the United Nations.
“Our European partners have long been telling us about the need to resume supplies, including from Ukraine, and above all in the interests of the poorest countries,” he said.
According to him, of the first 87 vessels that had left Ukrainian ports carrying grain, 32 had remained in Turkey, three went to South Africa, three to Israel, seven to Egypt, 30 to the European Union, and only two ships headed for countries that were receiving help under UN food programmes — Yemen and Djibouti. These latter two carried 60,000 tonnes of grain, or just 3% of the total.
Between May and August, the Russian Federation supplied 6.6mt (million tonnes) of wheat, barley and corn to world markets of which 6.3mt went to Asia,Africa and Latin America. This figure is expected to increase to 30mt by the end of the year, although could leap to 50mt if required.
In the same four-month period, Russia also exported 7mt million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and compound, or mixed fertilizer, of which around 3mt went to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“We can supply about 2mt of ammonia, which can be used to make large amounts of fertilizer, which in turn can be used to produce massive wheat crops,” he claimed.
The European Commission has lifted sanctions on the supply of Russian fertiliser, although this can only be bought by EU countries. Russia is prevented from selling fertilizer to developing economies via European ports, which Putin regards as an act of discrimination.