The United States is stressing the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative as Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN try to broker another extension when the deal runs out on Sunday.
State Department Spokesman Ned Price; “The world needs this, the world needs the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We believe it should be extended, we believe it should be expanded. And we believe that because we’ve seen the implications of a world with the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and we’ve seen a world without the Black Sea Grain Initiative.”
The situation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine according to Price; “World food prices spiked nearly 30 percent, wheat and fertilizer prices spiked nearly 30 percent, in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion. It wasn’t until the Black Sea Grain Initiative was put into place that these prices started to actually go down.”
A big deal, according to USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer at last month’s Ag Outlook Forum; “That is something that contributes to the Ukrainians exporting grain, that moderates global grain prices, whether that grain ends up in a specific country or not, it’s availability in the world market reduces wheat prices, it reduces other commodity prices.”
And Price says, it keeps people from starving; “Over four million metric tons of wheat have gone to developing countries as a result of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. That may seem like an abstract number, but it boils down to eight billion loaves of bread.”
Russia said it was extending the Grain Initiative for 60 days, but Ukraine rejected that offer. And Price dismissed continued Russian claims that sanctions are holding back Russian grain and fertilizer exports, arguing those items are exempt.