First post-blockade cargo of Ukrainian humanitarian food bound for Africa

Brave Commander ship has left Pivdennyi, Ukrainian port, carrying the first cargo of humanitarian food aid bound for Africa from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, as Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The Brave Commander, with 23,000 tonnes of wheat aboard, left for Djibouti with supplies destined for consumers in Ethiopia, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said.

“The ministry and the United Nations are working on ways to increase food supplies for the socially vulnerable sections of the African population,” it said in a statement.

Ukraine exported 948,000 tonnes of grain in the first half of August, down from 1.88 million tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

Ukraine’s grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because of the closure of its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and sparked fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

After the outbreak of a full-scale war on February 24, 2022, a significant part of the southern territory of Ukraine was blocked. Therefore, the ability of Ukraine to export goods by sea was eliminated.

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Ukraine blamed a Russian blockade of its ports for the halt in grain shipments. At that time, Moscow blamed mines in the water placed by Ukraine as protection from a Russian amphibious assault.

In a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations last month, Moscow and Kyiv agreed to resume shipments of wheat and other grain from three Ukrainian ports. It was for the first time since Russia invaded more than five months ago.

The halting of grain shipments from Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, contributed to a spike in food prices and caused concern about countries in the Middle East and Africa receiving enough grain and other commodities to feed their populations.