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India supports U.N. on Black Sea initiative

India has thrown its weight behind the United Nations’ efforts to continue the Black Sea Grain initiative and has called for a swift resolution to the impasse. The Black Sea Initiative holds significant importance for Ukraine’s agricultural sector, known as “Europe’s breadbasket,” which faces disruptions due to the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Key Points:

Impact of the Russian Invasion:

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 disrupted the Black Sea trade route, historically responsible for 90% of Ukraine’s grain exports.
  • This interference, coupled with other challenges like droughts and COVID-19 supply disruptions, put immense pressure on the global food supply, leading to fears of a potential hunger crisis and surging food prices.

The Black Sea Grain Project:

  • In response to the food crisis, Turkey and the UN mediated the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2022.
  • The agreement allowed three Ukrainian Black Sea ports (Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi) to export commercial fertilizer and food.
  • Teams from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN were involved in inspecting ships leaving these ports, ensuring safe navigation through a predetermined path to Istanbul, avoiding minefields.

The Initiative’s Effects:

China top recipient of food, feed under Black Sea Grain Initiative | World Grain

  • The Black Sea Grain Initiative ensured the continuity of Ukraine’s grain exports via the Black Sea route, contributing to stabilizing world food prices and preventing severe food shortages.
  • However, contrary to the UN’s initial vision, not all grain reached food-insecure regions, with China emerging as the largest purchaser, buying approximately 25% of Ukrainian grain shipments.

Impact on Ukraine’s Economy:

  • The Black Sea Grain Initiative played a crucial role in mitigating the economic hardship caused by the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
  • Since the war’s onset, Ukraine’s agricultural output has decreased by nearly 35%, with prolonged battles making planning and planting increasingly difficult and elevating costs.
  • Agricultural areas near conflict zones continue to face risks from landmines, even in areas liberated from conflict.

Challenges of Alternative Routes:

India supports U.N. on Black Sea initiative - Believers IAS Academy

  • Due to insufficient infrastructure and capacity, utilizing train, truck, or canal routes into European ports to handle the same grain volumes remains a challenge.
  • Attempts to use alternate channels led to political unrest, as farmers in neighboring European nations expressed concerns about Ukrainian grain flooding local markets and driving up costs.

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