Russia Killed the Black Sea Grain Deal. These Countries Could Suffer Most. 

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Russia Killed the Black Sea Grain Deal. These Countries Could Suffer Most. 

Moscow’s exit from the deal generated alarm in a number of populous lower-income countries dependent on Ukrainian grain.

An armed Ukrainian serviceman stands in front of silos of grain
A serviceman stands in front of silos of grain at the Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukraine. Nacho Doce/Reuters

Moscow says it’s done cooperating with the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal in which Russia eased its military blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to facilitate exports of Ukrainian grain, oilseed, and fertilizer. The deal allowed over thirty million tons of grain to exit Ukraine since its signing a year ago, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The agreement’s collapse could have disastrous consequences for the nations most dependent on Ukrainian grain at a time when climate change, conflict, and other factors have already caused rising levels of food insecurity. Russia blamed its exit on war-related Western sanctions that it says impede the country’s own exports of food and fertilizer. Talks are reportedly ongoing to get the deal back on track.

Who is most affected?

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Ukraine produces about 10 percent of the world’s wheat and 15 percent of its corn, counting multiple countries in Africa and the Middle East among its top buyers. Many destinations for Ukrainian grain are lower-income nations already grappling with food insecurity. Some, such as Lebanon and Pakistan, are also suffering political and economic crises. And others, such as Indonesia and Nigeria, have huge populations to feed.

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In addition to raising food prices, the grain deal’s demise could mean countries will wait longer for imports as Ukraine is forced to use lower-capacity land routes to ship its products. It could also cause Ukrainian farmers to plan for smaller harvests next year, meaning food insecurity for hundreds of millions of people will remain a concern even if Russia agrees to rejoin the deal.

Learn More:

Sabine Baumgartner, Amelia Cheatham, and Claire Klobucista, “Rising Hunger: Facing a Food-Insecure World

Laura Cross, Michelle Gavin, and Gabrielle Sierra “Down and Dirty: The Global Fertilizer Dilemma,” Why It Matters

More From Our Experts

Michelle Gavin, “East Africa’s Growing Food Crisis: What to Know

Kali Robinson “How Russia’s War in Ukraine Could Amplify Food Insecurity in the Mideast

More on:

Food and Water Security

The War in Ukraine

Russia

Ukraine

Trade

Will Merrow created the graphic for this article.

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