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Providing rapid response as global hunger crisis deepens

The President of Ukraine, November 26, launched “Grain from Ukraine” Humanitarian Initiative, in a programme aimed at loading and delivering 60 ships by mid-2023. The programme will be supported by new International Coordination Group for the Prevention of Hunger (ICGPH).

So far, Vessel Nord Vind, carrying 27,000 tons of food wheat, departed from the Black Sea port of Odesa towards Ethiopia, and three ships, NEVA, KEREM, and RUBIMAR, are also headed to the ports of Ukraine for loading, enabling the export of 82,000 tons of food wheat.

Ukraine, known as the breadbasket of Europe, has significant global market share by volume of several vital foodstuffs including corn (15%), wheat (10%), barley (15%) and sunflower oil (50%)

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, launched the new humanitarian food programme, “Grain from Ukraine”, to assist with the aggravation of the global food security crisis. In partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the new programme also aims to ensure the safe transportation of grain and agricultural products through Ukrainian ports and prevent famine across Africa’s most vulnerable countries.

The vessel Nord Vind, carrying 27,000 tons of food wheat, departed from the Black Sea port of Odesa towards Ethiopia on November 15. The Ukrainian government will begin loading the second Calisto vessel in the port of Chornomorsk, carrying another 30,000 tons of wheat for the people of Ethiopia. Another three ships, NEVA, KEREM, and RUBIMAR, are also headed to the ports of Ukraine for loading, enabling the export of 82,000 tons of food wheat for countries on the verge of starvation – Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Welcoming the launch, President Zelensky said: “Ukraine is the victim of an illegal war of aggression by Russia and stands on the frontline of a conflict that will shape the 21st Century. Even as the country struggles with food shortages, devastated farmland, and widespread blackouts, we will never forget our role as a responsible global citizen – especially having experienced famine as a nation ourselves. Africa is in desperate need of food and Ukraine stands ready to support vulnerable people in their hour of need.”

Zelensky said: “I am proud to announce the official launch of the “Grain from Ukraine” programme as these ships depart from Odesa, and I look forward to Ukraine continuing to play a role in crucial global supply chains that will provide relief to starving nations around the world.”

The programme was launched on the symbolic anniversary of the Holodomor when millions of Ukrainians starved to death in a famine from 1932-1933. The programme will be supported by new International Coordination Group for the Prevention of Hunger (ICGPH), which includes representatives of the governments, corporations, and international partners who can directly influence the provision of food needs of millions of people around the world.

“Today’s launch represents a key historical moment, not only for Ukraine, but for all countries facing severe food shortages due to the ongoing conflict. This humanitarian project will allow us to strengthen our ties with Africa, while we work together to help nations mitigate the impact of the global food crisis,”said Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office said.

“Now more than ever, we call on the international community to offer its financial support towards this humanitarian cause and help us prepare more ships to allow Ukrainian grain to feed the hungry,” Yermak said.

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The ICGPH hopes to build international support for the Ukrainian agricultural industry, protect cultivated areas, maintain production, and strengthen supply chains. It also hopes to source international customers who can guarantee the purchase of Ukrainian agricultural products.

Mykola Solskyi, minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, said: “Russia’s unlawful war of aggression has disrupted Ukraine’s vast agricultural industry and has been a direct threat to global food security. According to the latest World Food Programme (WFP) report, an all-time high of 970,000 people are facing catastrophic levels of famine in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen – ten times more than five years ago.”

Solskyi said: “Ukraine, known as the breadbasket of Europe, has significant global market share by volume of several vital foodstuffs including corn (16,2%), wheat (11,6%), barley (17,6%) and sunflower oil (50%) – according to the last pre-war USDA report. By destroying traditional supply chains, Russians has brought at least 70 million people around the world closer to starvation. In total, 345 million people suffer from catastrophic food shortages and 82 countries need food aid, according to data from the United Nations.”

Oleksandr Kubrakov, minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, said: “As the war erupted in Ukraine, the world witnessed one of the most valuable grain corridors close off, plummeting the global food supply and deepening the food security crisis. “Grain from Ukraine” will help us shift vast stores of food supplies stuck in our warehouses, which has not been able to be exported overseas due to a blockade imposed by the Russian armed forces.”

The Ukrainian government calls on international funds, foreign governments, charitable organisations, and private businesses to support this initiative and purchase Ukrainian grain to assist starving nations in the developing world, while simultaneously supporting one of Ukraine’s economic backbones – its farmers. The Ukrainian government will help in the establishment of grain logistics, from the agricultural producer to the Ukrainian seaport and from there to the port of final destination.
From the Presidential Office of Ukraine, Kyiv, November 26, 2022