Ukraine secures US$20m from USAID to facilitate grain exports through the Black Sea

UKRAINE — Ukraine is set to receive up to US$20 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help it facilitate grain exports through the black sea.

The pledge from USAID follows the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement for a further 120 days to allow Ukraine to export more grains to developing countries in Africa and Asia.

The agreement which was originally brokered in July has helped Ukraine ramp up exports and as a result, helped stabilize spiraling food prices worldwide and provide food to millions of people.

The United States has given US$173 million to the WFP to purchase Ukrainian grain and has further provided more than US$11 billion for the global food crisis, including US$8.6 billion in humanitarian assistance.

USAID also continues to assist Ukraine’s farmers through the Agriculture Resilience Initiative — Ukraine (AGRI-Ukraine).

The agency focuses on four areas that are critical to sustain Ukraine’s agricultural exports and its contributions to global food security: providing critical inputs for farmers; improving export logistics and infrastructure; increasing farmers’ access to financing, and supporting crop drying, storage, and processing needs.

USAID has invested US$100 million in the initiative, and the agency is seeking to raise at least US$150 million in additional funding from fellow donors, foundations, and the private sector.

Grain exports down 32%

Meanwhile, data coming from the Ukraine’s agriculture ministry data has revealed that the country exported 16.2 million tonnes in 2022-23, 32% lower than the amount exported in the prior market year.

Corn dominated the exports at 8.6 million tonnes followed by wheat at 6.3 million tonnes while barley followed distantly at 1.3 million tonnes.

The double-digit decline in exports can be directly linked to Russia’s invasion and the blockade on Ukraine grain shipment that followed shortly after.

The Black Sea Grain initiative brought some life back at three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which had closed operations to grain exports for more than 6 months.

By October, Ukraine’s grain exports had almost returned to prewar levels, only missing their 2021 levels by only 2.4%, according to data from the country’s ministry cited by Reuters.

November however saw exports drop by 30% year on year to just 3 million as uncertainty over the extension of the grain initiative caused jitters in world commodity market.

Ukraine which recently reported that 92% of its winter grain sowing was complete has lost huge tracts of agricultural land to the invading forcing and this will certainly impact its output.

Reuters now predicts that Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes.

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