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3 Nov, 2023 09:06

Moscow to ship more free wheat to Africa

Supplies will go to Somalia, the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali and Eritrea by the end of this year
Moscow to ship more free wheat to Africa

Moscow will increase humanitarian grain exports to Africa, with six more countries on the continent receiving 200,000 tons of wheat by the end of the year, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

The donations will be distributed to Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR), Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, and Eritrea, Alexey Polishchuk, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Department, told TASS news agency.

We carefully and responsibly approach both the fulfillment of obligations under commercial contracts for the export of agricultural products and fertilizers, and humanitarian actions,” Polishchuk said.

He added that Moscow was working with the United Nations World Food Program on the supplies, and that 20,000 tons of fertilizer have already been delivered to Malawi and 34,000 tons to Kenya.

The approval of three more supplies is at the final stage: 23,000 tons to Zimbabwe, 34,000 tons to Nigeria and 55,000 tons to Sri Lanka,” he said.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa stated his country’s interest in Russian grain and fertilizers during the second Russia-Africa summit in July. He said his government’s goal is to modernize and mechanize Zimbabwe’s economy while also ensuring food security, and that he hopes to cooperate with Moscow on this front.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also made a pledge in a speech at the summit to send up to 50,000 tons of grain to six African countries at no cost.

Earlier last month, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said Moscow was “finalizing all the documents” in order to begin the free grain deliveries to selected African countries “within a month, or a month-and-a-half.” This came after Russia’s ambassador to CAR, Aleksandr Bikantov, announced in September that food aid had been shipped to the African nation.

The move follows Moscow’s refusal to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which aimed to allow Ukraine to export grain from its ports to countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions that prevented Russian agricultural exports. In July, Moscow withdrew from the agreement, arguing that Western countries were still making it difficult to ship food and fertilizer.

Despite Western sanctions affecting the supply of Russian food products to developing countries, Russia is said to have exported 11.5 million tons of grain to Africa in 2022.