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UN Secretary-General, in Kyiv, Highlights Black Sea Grain Deal Rollover, Expires on March 18

Bloomberg writers Olesia Safronova and Megan Durisin reported yesterday that, “United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of renewing the key Black Sea grain deal during a visit to Kyiv, with the current accord soon set to expire.

“The latest 120-day run of the Black Sea Grain Initiative — which has enabled the shipment of more than 20 million tons of Ukrainian crops since it was agreed in July — ends on March 18. It can be extended if no sides seek to terminate or modify it, though a renewal is yet to be confirmed.

“Cargill Is Optimistic Landmark Ukrainian Grain-Export Deal Will Be Renewed,” by Tarso Veloso Ribeiro and Isis Almeida. Bloomberg News (March 6, 2023).

“‘I want to underscore the critical importance of the rollover of the Black Sea Grain Initiative,’ Guterres said on Wednesday during a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. ‘It contributed to lowering the global cost of food and has offered critical relief to people, who are also paying the high price for this war, particularly in the developing world.'”

A separate Bloomberg article yesterday, by Megan Durisin and Aine Quinn, reported that, “The crucial grain deal that revived Ukraine’s crop exports and helped bring down global prices is up for renewal again, and the market is betting on another extension.”

“Grain Traders Bank On Renewal of Vital Ukraine Crop Deal,” by Megan Durisin and Aine Quinn. Bloomberg News (March 8, 2023).

The Bloomberg article noted that, “Ukraine has shipped 23 million tons since the deal was first struck in July. That’s helped pick up the pace from earlier in the season, though volumes are still down about a quarter from last year.”

“Grain Traders Bank On Renewal of Vital Ukraine Crop Deal,” by Megan Durisin and Aine Quinn. Bloomberg News (March 8, 2023).

Durisin and Quinn explained that, “The UN has confirmed talks are ongoing, without saying where each side stands or whether any seek to amend the pact…[and]…The UN expects a Russian delegation in Geneva for discussions next week.”

“Grain Traders Bank On Renewal of Vital Ukraine Crop Deal,” by Megan Durisin and Aine Quinn. Bloomberg News (March 8, 2023).

Meanwhile, Reuters News reported today that, “The Kremlin said on Thursday that there were still ‘a lot of questions’ remaining over the Black Sea grain deal, and that there were currently no plans for a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.”

In more detailed reporting on Ukrainian agricultural production, Reuters writers Rod Nickel and Pavel Polityuk reported yesterday that,

Facing fields full of mines and short of cash, many Ukrainian farmers are likely to sow a smaller area this spring than they did following Russia’s invasion, in what could be a further blow to global food supplies after disruptions last year.

“Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and corn to world markets and production and exports slumped last year due to the war, sending prices for key commodities sharply higher before stabilising.”

“The farmers, who began planting the country’s spring crop last week, also earn less than before as buyers factor in the war’s higher logistic costs and risks, giving them little incentive to maximize output. Ukraine can ship from just three Black Sea ports running at half capacity under an international shipping deal,” the Reuters article said.

And today, Reuters writer Pavel Polityuk reported that, “Ukrainian grain harvest may fall 37% to 34 million tonnes in 2023 because of a smaller grain sowing area and lower yield, Ukraine’s national academy of agricultural science said on Thursday.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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