The vessel Negmar Cicek departed from the port of Chornomorsk for the Republic of Yemen to deliver 30,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid. This is the sixth vessel under the Grain from Ukraine food programme.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine - Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solskyi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Ukraine Bridget Brink, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Spain to Ukraine Ricardo Lopez-Aranda Hagu, Benjamin Rohrig, Deputy Head of Mission of the French Republic in Ukraine Benjamin Rohrig, Deputy Director of the UN World Food Program in Ukraine Marianne Ward.
Oleksandr Kubrakov expressed his gratitude to all partners for their support and emphasised that the joint efforts made it possible to extend the grain initiative for another 120 days. Ukraine will continue to provide food to the countries in need.
"Since the launch of the initiative, over 25 million tonnes of grain have been shipped from the ports of Greater Odesa. I hope that our partners will continue to support this programme, and we will help the countries that need this assistance the most. Even in times of war, Ukraine, together with its partners, thinks about and helps the poorest countries," said Oleksandr Kubrakov.
Mykola Solskyi, the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, emphasised that the programme "Grain from Ukraine" has become a permanent one. Every month, new ships leave Ukrainian ports. The United States, Spain and France have become donors to support Yemen.
"I would like to thank the United States, France and Spain for supporting this programme. It is at the expense of these countries that the ship is being sent to Yemen. Grain from Ukraine is important for many reasons. First of all, it is a humanitarian mission which shows that Ukraine supports its African partners. Even in such a difficult time for us. The second aspect is that it emphasizes the importance of the grain initiative, which required a lot of effort to be continued," said Mykola Solskyi.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Ukraine Bridget Brink stressed the importance of the humanitarian mission for the world and for Ukraine. According to her, 65% of wheat exports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative are sent to developing countries.
"We visited a ship with grain being loaded for shipment to Yemen to feed millions of people in need in that country. The United States will continue to support the initiative and help expand the Black Sea Grain Initiative. If it were not for the artificial restrictions on ship inspections in the Bosphorus, 45 ships could be sent every day," said Brigitte Brink.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Spain to Ukraine said that Spain would contribute another €14.4 million to the previously announced €236.5 million. These funds are allocated under the Spanish Food Security Strategy.
"We are very pleased that Spain could join this programme. It is important to support Ukraine in helping countries at risk of food crisis not only in Africa, but also in Latin America and Asia," said Ricardo Lopez-Aranda Hagu.
Deputy Head of Mission of the French Republic in Ukraine Benjamin Rohrig called Grain from Ukraine a significant input into solving the problems of food security in the world. He emphasized that France initiated the solidarity corridors introduced by the EU, which helped to export more than 20 million tonnes of grain since spring 2022.
"The war initiated by russia against Ukraine exacerbated food security problems in the world by reducing the ability to produce and transport food. A secondary effect of this war on a global scale is the deterioration of the food security situation in a number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Africa. We welcome the noble and sincere step taken by Ukraine to help solve this problem," said Benjamin Rohrig. He also added that France would continue to support Ukrainian initiatives.
Marianne Ward, Deputy Director of the UN World Food Programme in Ukraine, stressed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative contributes to maintaining stable grain prices in the world and provides access to food for the poorest countries.
"When the ports were closed, grain prices reached their ten-year high - almost 30% higher than in 2021. Unfortunately, an increase in grain prices of just 1% puts approximately 10 million people below the poverty line. Today's ship to Yemen is an important humanitarian vessel. It is heading to one of the world's most starving countries," said Marianne Ward.
Grain from Ukraine is a humanitarian initiative established by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. As part of the programme, it is planned to send about 60 ships with grain to the poorest countries in Africa. The goal is to purchase agricultural products directly from Ukrainian producers and transfer them to countries on the edge of famine. Five ships have already been shipped under this programme:
- The vessel NORD VIND delivered 25 thousand tonnes of wheat to Ethiopia;
- The vessel BC CALLISTO delivered 30 thousand tonnes of wheat to Ethiopia;
- The vessel NEVA delivered 25 thousand tonnes of wheat to Somalia;
- The vessel Amira Hana delivered 30 thousand tonnes of wheat to Ethiopia;
- The vessel Valsamitis delivered 25 thousand tonnes of wheat to the Republic of Kenya (port of Mombasa) and 5 thousand tonnes to Ethiopia.