Russia withdraws from Black Sea Grain Initiative

Russia recently pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Deal, which was launched to mitigate food inflation caused by conflict in Ukraine.

What is Black Sea Grain Initiative?

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was an agreement between Russia and Ukraine with Turkey and the United Nations. It sought to create a safe passage of food grains exported from Ukraine, which is currently in war with Russia. Under this agreement, export of grain, food and fertilizers will be allowed to resume from Ukraine via a “safe maritime humanitarian corridor” from three key Ukrainian ports i.e., Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi. A Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) having representatives from signatories of the Black Sea Grain Initiative was set up to implement this deal.

Why was the deal signed?

Ukraine exports around 45 million tonnes of grain to the global market each year. However, after Russia launched military campaign in February 2022, Ukraine was left with large amount of grains stored in silos unable to be transported to other parts of the world.

This has severely affected the global supply of grains. With the energy prices and food prices increasing because of the conflict, many countries, especially those in Africa, were at the brink of famine. The Black Sea Grain Initiative sought to address these issues.

By mid-September, over three million tonnes of cargo left Ukraine under this deal. About 51 per cent of the total cargo was corn, 25 per cent was wheat, 11 per cent sunflower products, 6 per cent rapeseed and 5 per cent barley. The rest of the cargo included soya beans and other food commodities. About half of the total cargo went to high-income countries like Spain, Netherlands, Korea, Germany, Ireland and Israel. India received 4 per cent of the total wheat exports from Ukraine since the war broke out.

What is the current status of the Black Sea Grain Initiative?

Black Sea Grain deal was set to expire on November 19, 2022. The renewal negotiations were led by the United Nations throughout October 2022. However, Russia pulled out of this agreement on October 29 due to drone attack on its naval ships in the port of Sevastopol. Despite Russia withdrawing from the deal, several grain ships continued to depart from ports in Ukraine with support from Turkey and UN. However, it is unclear if this safe passage will remain intact indefinitely.




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