Today: Friday, 19 August 2022 year

Humanitarian cargo of Russian fertilizers will go to Africa

Humanitarian cargo of Russian fertilizers will go to Africa

The Russian company Uralchem, one of the largest global producers and exporters of nitrogen, potassium, and complex fertilizers, will supply its products (urea or compound fertilizers) to Africa on a free of charge basis.

This project of Uralchem is implemented in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goal No.2 “Eradicate hunger, ensure food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. The project at this stage provides for humanitarian delivery of the first batch of 25 thousand tons to Africa.

As Dmitry Konyaev, CEO of Uralchem, commented, ” Amid this complicated geopolitical situation, which has significantly affected global market conditions for production and consumption of fertilisers, Uralchem is ready to provide support to agricultural producers in Africa by making a free shipment of some of our base and advanced products. As a key industry player, we understand how important it is to support agriculture, both in our domestic market and in Africa, which is having a very hard time weathering through this economic crisis”.

It may be noted that Uralchem’s initiative is the first and unique of its kind in the world among private companies.

The shipment of Uralchem’s humanitarian cargo to Africa comes shortly after the signing on July 22 in Istanbul of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UN Secretariat and Russia to promote Russian food and fertilizers on world markets. On the UN side, the document was signed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The main task of this document is to ensure a transparent and unhindered supply of food and fertilizers, including raw materials for their production, to the world markets. We are talking, in particular, about removing obstacles in the areas of finance, insurance and logistics, to achieve specific exemptions for these products from the restrictive measures imposed on Russia. The term of the memorandum is 3 years.

Earlier, the U.S. had already issued a general license allowing transactions with Russia related to fertilizers, food, seeds, as well as medical equipment and medicines. The European Union, in adopting the seventh package of sanctions against Russia, also noted that it was committed to avoid any measures that could lead to a decrease in food security around the world.

Uralchem’s beneficiary was formerly Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin, who fell under EU sanctions and sold a controlling stake in the company. Uralchem’s assets in the EU, including its fertilizer and ammonia transshipment terminals in Latvia, were also out of Uralchem’s control, but so far they have been restricted by the Latvian authorities due to sanctions. The state authorities have not yet decided to give permission for the transit of fertilizers through the terminals, or even for the import of Russian fertilizers for Latvian farmers.

In this regard, the recent statements of Josep Borrell, the Head of the EU Foreign policy, are noteworthy. He said that the EU does not rule out the possibility of introducing partial changes of the sanctions against Russia, if they have an indirect impact on food and fertilizer markets. This was reported by the Spanish news agency EFE on July 26. According to Borrell, there are economic actors that are “overreacting” in the face of sanctions.

“Having the opportunity to do what is not prohibited, they do not do it,” Borrel believes.

 

He argues that the community’s proposed sanctions against Russia “clearly exclude food and fertilizers.”

Martin Griffith, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said at a July 28 briefing that Russian food and fertilizers are needed on global markets.

“The world needs exports of Russian food and fertilizers. The talks were not about easing sanctions, they were about removing obstacles to exports. These are all parts of the same package,” he said, referring to the agreement on grain exports and the memorandum between Russia and the UN.

Perhaps, in order to solve the problem of the food crisis the world community and decision-makers in the sphere of sustainable development should recognize fertilizers as humanitarian goods on a par with food, medicines and other vital goods, and thus simplify all procedures related to the supply of fertilizers to the world market.