Kremlin Will Confer Next Week on Providing Free Grain to African Nations Most in Need
July 19, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Russia-Africa Summit takes place July 27-28 in St. Petersburg, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that Russia will be conferring with different nations on providing free grain to those most in need. Speaking to reporters, he said that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was agreed upon a year ago, to permit grain and food shipments for humanitarian reasons, but the goal was not honored, and “the poorest countries in Africa have benefited the least.”
There will be delegations from 49 African nations participating in the Russia-Africa summit, according to Alexander Polyakov, the Deputy Director of the Africa Department of the Foreign Ministry of Russia, reported yesterday by Telesur. Peskov is quoted, “We are in contact with our African partners; these contacts will continue at the St. Petersburg summit; we are preparing and waiting for them.”
President Putin himself spoke of Russia’s offer of free grain and fertilizer back on March 20 at the second international Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference. At that time, the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative was in question, because Western sanctions and conditions were still hindering Russian food and fertilizer exports, and also Ukraine food exports were continuing to go to their decades-long commercial destinations in Europe, Japan and China, with next to no re-routing for humanitarian needs.
Putin said at the time, “If we nevertheless decide not to renew this deal ... after 60 days, then we are ready to deliver all the volume that was sent to the countries in Africa, in particular in need, during the previous period from Russia, to these countries free of charge.”
The breakdown of Ukraine’s exports of 32 million metric tons of grain during the period of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as reported July 18 by Russkiy Mir Foundation is: 32 million tons total, of which 40% went to European countries (Spain, Netherlands, Germany, others), 25% to China; 10% to Turkiye. The very poorest countries got between 2.5% and 3% of the Ukraine grain exports over the period of the Initiative.