Under the Black Sea export pact, the WFP purchased and shipped 725,000 tonnes of grain to Afghanistan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen over the past year. The pact has allowed WFP so far to procure 80 per cent of its wheat grain purchases this year from Ukraine, up from 50 per cent in 2021 and 2022.
Overall, nearly 33 million tonnes of grain were exported by Ukraine under the deal, which aimed to combat a global food crisis worsened by Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
“For our operations the impact will be that we have to look elsewhere, which potentially can be more costly and certainly will have longer lead ways,” Skau said. “One of the reasons why Ukraine has been such an important source for us is the proximity to many of our operations.”
Global wheat prices have spiked about 9 per cent since Russia on Jul 17 quit the pact, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey in July 2022, and began targeting Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure on the Black Sea and Danube River. Prices are still about half the record high hit in early March 2022.
“In terms of our procurement we always buy where it’s cheapest and fastest to get to our beneficiaries, and so that’s the principle that will guide us,” Skau said.