A breakthrough has been made on hundreds of thousands of tons of Russian-made fertiliser blocked in European ports, which is vital to avoid a global food insecurity crisis next year, a senior United Nations official said on Friday.
Nearly 11.2 million tons of essential foodstuffs have been shipped from three Ukrainian ports since the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed on July 22 by Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations. The agreement is aimed at ensuring food supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict.
However, 300,000 tons of Russian fertiliser remain stranded in various European ports, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan.
Grynspan welcomed Thursday's extension of the initiative, which expires on Saturday, by 120 days.
As negotiated via the UN World Food Program (WFP), a ship loaded with Russian fertiliser will depart from the Netherlands for Malawi, via Mozambique, next Monday.
"WFP is in charge of taking the fertiliser from the ports to the countries that need the fertiliser," Grynspan said.
Responding to questions about the reopening of an ammonia pipeline from Russia to the Black Sea, the UNCTAD secretary-general said that she was "optimistic that this could happen" with the agreement of Russia and Ukraine.
"Ammonia is included in the Black Sea Grain Initiative -- explicitly -- in the Memorandum Of Understanding with Russia," she said, adding that this meant a new agreement was not necessarily needed.
"The objective is to ease the pain that many developing countries are feeling because of food and fertilisers, energy and the financial crisis that we are living right now," she said.