Russia claims to be prepared to transport one million metric tons of grain to countries such as Zimbabwe, utilizing Turkey as a transit route.

Russia Claims To Be Prepared To Transport One Million Metric Tons Of Grain To Countries Such As Zimbabwe, Utilizing Turkey As A Transit Route.
  • Russia announces that all agreements are essentially in place for the shipment of grain to African countries.
  • Vladimir Putin pledges to provide certain African countries, including Zimbabwe, with significant quantities of free food shipments.
  • Alexander Grushko, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reveals that Turkey has agreed to serve as a transit point for the grain shipments.

On Wednesday, Russia stated that Turkey had agreed in principle to handle one million metric tonnes of grain that Russia intends to send to Africa. This shipment will be offered at a discounted price with financial assistance from Qatar.

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Moscow proposed this arrangement after terminating a year-old agreement in July, which had permitted Ukraine to transport grain securely from its Black Sea ports. The goal was to mitigate the impact of soaring global food prices, which were exacerbated by Russia’s invasion.

Russia has been actively seeking to establish relationships with African countries, many of which have been grappling with food shortages. As part of its efforts, Russia has been offering free or discounted grain to these nations. However, the quantities provided are significantly less compared to what Ukraine had been exporting.

“We have reached agreements in principle. We anticipate that we will soon establish working contacts with all parties involved to work out the technical details of this delivery scheme,” revealed Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko during a press briefing, as reported by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Turkey will handle the onward export of the Russian grain, although the specific details of its role have not been clarified.

Moscow claims to have terminated the previous deal because Western nations failed to remove obstacles hindering Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports due to sanctions. Additionally, Russia expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that only a small portion of the grain freed by the Black Sea agreement was reaching the most impoverished countries.

Since withdrawing from the agreement, Russia has launched attacks on Ukrainian sea and river ports as well as grain storage facilities. This has led Ukraine and Western countries to accuse Russia of using food as a weapon of war. Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

Free Grain for Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to provide six African countries, including Zimbabwe, with 50,000 tonnes of grain free of charge.

In the combined years of 2020 and 2021, South Africa exported less than 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Zimbabwe. However, in 2022, Zimbabwe purchased nearly 60,000 tonnes from South Africa, accounting for 30% of South Africa’s total wheat exports that year.

READ | Russia could soon donate grain worth R320 million to Zimbabwe, a key South African export market

The value of the Russian grain shipment to Zimbabwe would range from R320 million to R500 million, based on current market prices.

While 40% of South Africa’s agricultural exports remain within the African continent, experts have recommended exploring opportunities for growth in countries with expanding populations and foreign currency reserves.

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