by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE decision by Russia to halt the Black Sea grain deal has sent shockwaves internationally.
It is the latest impact on the global front by the conflict between the global superpower and neighbouring Ukraine.
Russia’s decision throws spanners into a grain deal, brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey to combat a global food crisis.
“Russia’s refusal to renew the Black Sea Grain Deal presents an upside risk to global grain prices,” said Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz).
He said this might undermine the gains enjoyed from the slowing grain prices, specifically in the major importing regions.
Sihlobo highlighted that while the majority of grain from the Black Sea was primarily exported to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, the availability of grain and the decline in prices indirectly benefited the global community.
“Regarding my home country, South Africa, we are not directly at risk as we have large domestic grain supplies,” said the economist.
“With that said, we still import about 1,5 million tonnes of wheat annually, but most of this for the 2022/23 season is already on our shores,” Sihlobo said.
Still, the price reaction to the news of Russia’s refusal is worth monitoring and could impact South African consumers, Sihlobo said.
However, the extent of that will depend on how global grain markets react to this current glitch caused by Russia, the economist added.
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres, also regretted Russia’s decision to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea initiative – including the withdrawal of its security guarantees for navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
The initiative has ensured the safe passage of over 32 million metric tons of food commodities from Ukrainian ports.
Guterres noted hundreds of millions of people faced hunger and consumers were confronting a global cost-of-living crisis.
“They (millions of people) will pay the price,” the UN chief lamented.
“Indeed, we are already seeing a jump in wheat prices this (Monday) morning, but it will not stop our efforts to advance global food security & price stability. There is too much at stake in a hungry & hurting world.”
Guterres has approached Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to keep the Black Sea Initiative alive.
CARE, the non-governmental organisation, expressed alarm.
“The interruption in grain deliveries will cause shocks on economically fragile countries in the Middle East and North Africa that rely on these imports and destabilize food prices globally with enormous consequences for millions of people,” said Michelle Nunn, President of CARE.
However, the general global population of eight billion (8 billion) people think otherwise as they accuse both the United Nations and the West of not being honest, fair and sincere on their part while Russia fulfilled all its promises.
Chima Christopher reacted: “(Guterres) Stop all this clout chasing, and (we want the UN to immediately) call for an end to this War. You know what can bring peace to both sides but you refuse to do it @antonioguterres come out boldly and say the truth, do not be a pawn for the U.S government.”
Elba Borgia voiced: “Maybe if you (the United Nations) kept your end of the bargain you made with Russia you wouldn’t be standing there saying this today,” while Brandão José Gonçalves Alves argued: “The Russians say they will resume the agreement as soon as you fulfill what was agreed with them, the promises you made. You must know the English version, but you understand the Spanish one. The Russians were naive to believe your promises. Did you think you fooled them forever?”
Northern Icon observed: “Even when the agreement was in place, only the European countries benefited from the agreement. So, we in the developing countries have nothing to do with your food securities.”
Denis Sidique demanded the UN to be partial: “Negotiate with Russia, listen to Putin’s legitimate concerns please,” while Ephemeral Yawahuguama remarked: “Did you mention the fact that US+EU sanctions are the ones that are causing food inflation and hunger aka “insecurity”? Russia is the largest exporter of wheat and fertilizer and the West’s sanctions block that export.”
Ali Mansouri contended: “This is only one side-effect of the war. Stop the war and engage in serious negotiations to peacefully solve all the disputes between Russia and Ukraine; otherwise, human suffering will continue for a very long time.”
Steward Peter insisted: “Who gave Ukraine torpedo drones to attack the bridge (Crimea)? By laying siege to Crimea, are the Crimeans suffering any less than those who will not get grain now? Didn’t Kiev use those grain ports to launch their drone torpedo at that bridge?”
The Duke of Ethioland warned the UN and the West of their one sided action: “Sir, there’s a much worse scenario looming that the world should be worried about than grain — we are sleepwalking toward a nuclear war due to escalating provocations.”
Michael Thullah demanded peace without any further Western supply of weapons to Ukraine: “A peace deal between Ukraine and Russia is the solution.”
The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has been ongoing since 2014 but escalated in early 2022.
– CAJ News