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Ukraine Arranges Donation of 60 Cargoes of Grain to Low-Income Nations

Ukrainian grain in the hold of a bulker
Ukrainian grain awaiting export at Odesa (Charles Michel)

Published Nov 28, 2022 5:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

The government of Ukraine is organizing an initiative to send Ukrainian grain to consumers in low-income countries in the Middle East and Africa, who have been hit hardest by inflation in the cost of food over the course of the past year. 

The "Grain from Ukraine" plan will see donors from wealthier agricultural-importing nations pay for additional grain to send to needier countries. The funding would be prioritized for exports from small and medium-sized Ukrainian agricultural producers. Ukraine's economy may be in tatters, devastated by the ongoing Russian invasion, but it is still a key food exporter and is keen to show that it prioritizes supplies to customers in the developing world. 

"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," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a statement. "Africa is in desperate need of food and Ukraine stands ready to support vulnerable people in their hour of need."

Six NATO countries and the EU have already announced donations to support the initiative. The objective is to send 60 ships with enough food to "save five million people from hunger," according to Zelensky. 

The EU has also donated about $1 billion to support the operation of the "Solidarity Lanes," the effort to move Ukraine's agricultural products overland through European territory. With help from the European Commission, Ukrainian producers have new cross-border access to Gdynia, Gdansk and other ports of loading via road and rail. 

The Grain from Ukraine program launches on the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the Soviet-orchestrated famine that claimed millions of Ukrainian lives in the early 1930s. This year's remembrance is overshadowed by a new round of Russian assault on Ukraine's independence, emphasized Ukraine's Holodomor Museum in a statement.