News-CRUX-10     28th August 2023        
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Context: : As Russia comes under renewed pressure to revive the Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine, the US and EU are also talking to India to see if it can use its influence with Russia to ensure resumption of Ukrainian grain exports. 

  • While the deal was brokered by the UN and Turkey in 2022 to attenuate the effects of the war on global food security, India also had played a role in reaching the agreement.

Black Sea Grain Initiative

  • About: The Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports, also called the Black Sea Grain Initiative, was an agreement between Russia and Ukraine with Turkey and the United Nations (UN) made during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Origin: The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, was signed in Istanbul in July 2022.
    • Initially it was stipulated for a period of 120 days with an option to extend or terminate after November.
  • Mirror agreement: It was not a direct agreement between Russia and Ukraine
    • Instead, Ukraine signed an agreement with Turkey and the UN, and Russia signed a separate "mirror" agreement with Turkey and the UN.
  • Objectives: The deal was to provide for a safe maritime humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian exports (particularly for food grains) from three of its key ports: Chornomorsk, Odessa and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi. 
  • Ukraine is among the largest exporters of wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, globally. 
    • Its access to the deep-sea ports in the Black Sea enables it to directly approach Russia and Europe along with grain importers from West Asia and North Africa.
    • Russia’s actions in the East European country had disturbed this route which earlier used to ship 75% of its agricultural exports - precisely what the initiative sought to address.
  • Achievements: As per the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 10.1 million tonnes of grains, which include corn, wheat, rapeseed, and sunflower oil among others, have been shipped since the initiative commenced. 
    • About 44% of the shipments reached high-income countries (including Spain, Netherlands and Italy among others), 
    • About 28% reached low and lower-middle-income countries (Egypt, Iran, Sudan and Kenya among others).
    • About 27% reached upper-middle income countries (China and Bulgaria among others).