The U.N. top trade official said Friday a shipment of Russian fertilizer is scheduled to leave a Norwegian port Monday bound for Malawi, helping to ease a backlog of 300,000 tons of the agricultural products currently in European ports.
Speaking at a news briefing in Geneva, U.N. Conference on Trade and Development Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said the shipment is good news as it will help address global food shortages and comes a day after it was announced the Black Sea Grain deal would be extended.
The original deal, agreed to on July 22, unblocked shipments of 11 million tons of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine and helped ease rising global food prices. The initiative set up a safe shipping corridor in the Black Sea and inspection procedures to address concerns that cargo vessels might carry weapons or launch attacks.
The deal was set to expire Saturday but now will be extended by four months.
Grynspan said as part of the grain deal, the United Nations made an agreement with Russia to free up its shipments of food and fertilizer stuck in European ports. She said the backlog has created shortages and driven up the global price of fertilizer.
She explained that while those shipments were not directly targeted by Western sanctions, many countries have been reluctant to deal with Russia, leaving the shipments stranded.
Grynspan said as part of that deal the Russian company Uralchem-Uralkali donated the backlogged fertilizer to U.N. humanitarian efforts. She said, “A lot needed to be done for this to be possible, but now we have a model that is working. It’s a humanitarian activity.”
Grynspan said the U.N. World Food Program is taking charge of getting the fertilizer from the European ports to the countries that need it. She said she hopes the next shipment goes to West Africa, which, she said, “has been very affected by the affordability crisis of fertilizers.”
Grynspan also said the U.N. would be aiming for a longer renewal period of the Black Sea Grain deal beyond the 120 days agreed to Thursday.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.