Zelenskyy vows to help feed Africa and boost global food security with Grain from Ukraine scheme

Zelenskyy vows to help feed Africa and boost global food security with Grain from Ukraine scheme
Grain at a port in Ukraine.
Grain is loaded on to a ship at a port in Ukraine.Getty Images
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to help feed Africa's poorest countries with grain.

  • The Ukrainian scheme is being organized by government entities, NGOs, and companies.

  • Up to 60 grain shipments could be made by mid-2023 if international funding is available.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to help feed some of Africa's poorest nations despite the Russian invasion of his country.

The Ukrainian president announced the launch of a new scheme on the anniversary of his country's Holodomor famine, when millions of Ukrainians starved to death in 1932-33.

The Grain from Ukraine scheme is being organized by government entities, NGOs, and companies. It represents a key moment for countries facing severe food shortages due to Russia's war with its neighbor launched, Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelenskyy's office, told The Guardian on Saturday.

Three ships are due to depart from Odesa for Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, the newspaper reported.

"The genocidal policy of the Kremlin, both then and now, against our citizens, against society, against the state, is aimed at the total subjugation and total destruction of the people of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said following a meeting about the initiative with Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo.

"But now the Russian genocidal policy has gone far beyond the borders of our state, our continent – and threatens millions of people in many countries of the world," he added. "Russia has done everything to make the food crisis, which was provoked precisely by the blockade of Ukrainian ports and the war against our state, become extremely acute for many countries of the world."

Last month, Russia pulled out of a deal to allow grain exports from Black Sea ports after drones struck its naval vessels. US President Joe Biden said then the move was "outrageous" as it would "increase starvation."

An UN-brokered grain export deal was extended last week, but Ukraine blamed Russia for taking too long to inspect the vessels. Since the agreement was extended, no more than five ships a day have departed Ukraine's ports, Bloomberg reported.

The time taken to inspect Ukrainian ships carrying grain, fertilizer, and other foods was more than double the usual duration at some points in September, leading to a backlog of more than 100 ships waiting to enter or leave Ukraine.

Zelenskyy's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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