The European Commission reports that Ukraine accounts for a full 10% of the world’s wheat market, 15% of the corn market, and 13% of the barley market. In addition, Ukraine supports the global economy with a strong production of sunflower oil.
The Black Sea Grain deal, initially established in July of 2022, has its purpose in the safe export of Ukrainian grain amidst Russian blockades of Ukrainian ports. The United Nations, along with Turkey assisted in the development of this agreement. It was documented to expire on Wednesday the 18th of May 2023, however, it has been now given a two-month extension.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, confirmed today Thursday, May 18, 2023, that talks easing the restrictions on Russian agricultural exports helped broker the extension. Peskov said, “We can confirm that the Russian side has also decided to continue this so-called Black Sea deal for a period of two months”. He also commented that the ultimate result of the extension was “in the hands of those with whom the UN must agree on its Russian part.”
The world's food supply - having to do with this deal- was in peril. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, that as much as 90% of imports into East African countries are shipments supported by this grain deal. There would be a “spike in the number of undernourished people” to almost 19 million in 2023, the IRC said.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, reported that the next two months will be “decisive” when it comes to the continuation of the Black Sea grain deal. The safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports is still in jeopardy. He said, “Taking into account the whole range of circumstances, and taking into account the appeals of our partners, we supported the initiative of President Erdogan when he proposed extending this deal for another two months, with a clear understanding that these two months will be decisive”. This report came from a news conference with his Ugandan counterpart in Moscow.
Initially, Russia had threatened to pull out of the Black Sea Grain Deal with complaints that a different e agreement with the United Nations to assist Russian shipments of grain and fertilizers should be a part of the negotiations on the deal last July. That element, apparently, was not being held to account.
This new agreement on the Black Sea Grain Deal will expire on July 18, 2023.
The global market and its food supply await monumentous decisions by Russia and the United Nations amid war, environmental destruction, pollution, and hunger on our planet.