Sunday 22 May 2022
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Germany wants G7 help to keep Ukrainian ports open

German agriculture minister Cem Özdemir wants to engage the seven rich western industrialized countries (G7) to keep the export of Ukrainian grain afloat. Germany currently chairs the G7 countries.

Özdemir will further secure Ukraine's access to global markets at an agricultural meeting to be held later this month. Russia has destroyed several Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea and blocked shipping lanes with sea mines.

Ukraine is a major exporter of grain and most of its wheat is normally exported by sea, about five million tons of grain per month. Ukraine is already trying to get agricultural products to neighboring Poland and Romania by ship transport by rivers or by road, and from there to get out of the country via the Baltic Sea (Lithuania) or the Black Sea (Constanta). That only works little by little.

Alternative transport routes should therefore be opened up, according to the German Minister for Rail Transport, for example, via Poland could be a solution, but is problematic due to the different track widths in both countries. As a result, all cargoes have to be transferred to the Ukrainian-Polish. In addition, there is a major shortage of containers. 

Grain exports are one of the main issues currently facing the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said in a recent interview to Ukrainian media. Getting agricultural commodities out of the country by sea is currently “basically impossible,” said the project manager of a German-Ukrainian agricultural consultation in Kiev, which is supported by the ministries of both countries.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said in an interview with Gazeta Polska that the seeding of most fields in large parts of Ukraine has been successful, but it is uncertain whether it can be harvested, let alone whether it can be exported.

Ukraine's ports on the Black Sea must be reopened for grain exports, otherwise a global food crisis threatens. United Nations World Food Program director David Beasley says half of the wheat the WFP needs is stuck in Ukraine. 

According to the WFP director, the loss of the Ukrainian granary can be felt around the world for years. “Ukraine is the breadbasket of the world. They grow enough food to feed 400 million people. Well, that's gone," Beasley said this week on CBS's 60 Minutes program. 

Last week, Russian forces also bombed and destroyed a grain transfer facility in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region. The Russian Air Force bombed a grain elevator near Rubizhne. Satellite images of Russian powerful bombs have been dropped on Golden AGRO LLC's storage silos and buildings. 

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