First shipment of Ukrainian wheat since start of Russia-Ukraine conflict arrives in Sudan

A ship carrying 65,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine has arrived at a port in Sudan.

It’s the first shipment of Ukrainian wheat to the African country, where nearly a quarter of the population is at risk of starvation, after the start of the Russian-Ukraine conflict.

The bulk carrier Seaeagle Vessel left the Chornomorsk seaport in Ukraine on August 26 after an agreement on Ukrainian grain export was reached.

“This step needs to be followed by a commitment from Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the agreement mediators to assure the implementation of the agreement. The famine is threatening half of the population in Sudan among other African countries,” said Adil Khalafallah, an economist.

According to data from the United Nations, more than 11 million Sudanese people are facing acute hunger. The situation has been worsened by rising inflation, floods that have damaged crops, the freeze in foreign aid and conflict.

Sudan officials and economists said this shipment of wheat and a UN-mediated initiative to resume grain and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports will offer relief to the country.

“The resumption of Ukrainian exports to Sudan is helping to bridge the gap and limit the risks of food insecurity in threatened countries like Sudan. It’s a huge step,” Adil Khalafallah said.

A total of 129 ships loaded with over 2.8 million tons of grains have left Ukrainian ports since July 22, 2022 when the Black Sea Grain Initiative was activated to allow for commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, Amir Abdulla, the UN coordinator for the initiative, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In terms of destinations, 44 percent of the grains have been shipped to high-income countries and 28 percent went to low and lower-middle income countries.

Earlier in August, the World Food Program (WFP) of the UN arranged the first shipment of grains from Black Sea ports to struggling African countries.

The WFP said an additional U.S.-funded 150,000 tonnes of wheat grains from Ukraine will be sent in the coming weeks.

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