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Ukraine and Kenya plan ‘grain hub’ for East Africa to help tackle food insecurity

Ukraine has said it will set up “grain hubs” in Kenya and other parts of Africa to tackle food insecurity.

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office announced the plan, without giving many details, after he met his Kenyan and South African counterparts in New York.

Ukraine is a major supplier of grain to Africa.

In July, Russia’s withdrawal from a scheme that allowed the export of food from Ukraine raised concerns about shortages on the continent.

Global grain prices have risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

When President Zelensky spoke at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, he accused Russia of weaponising everything from food to energy.

While in New York, he met Kenya’s President William Ruto and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his statement about the meeting, Mr Ruto said that the Ukrainian president had committed to establishing a “grain hub” in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa to help address food shortages in East Africa.

But he did not give any more details about what this would entail, or how the grain would get there.

Kenya has been one of Africa’s most prominent supporters of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

South Africa, on the other hand, has maintained a more neutral stance. In June, President Ramaphosa led an African peace mission to both Ukraine and Russia.

Mr Ramaphosa said that he and the Ukrainian president had discussed “the way forward on the peace initiative”. They also talked about the revival of the grain deal, which had seen the export of Ukrainian food through the Black Sea.

Mr Zelensky told Mr Ramaphosa that Ukraine was trying to find alternative routes to supply grain to Africa.

“Several ships with grain have already successfully passed through these routes despite the difficult situation,” Mr Zelensky said.

Russia’s withdrawal from the grain scheme prevents Ukraine from using the Black Sea channel to transport food and other exports to Africa and other regions.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declined to renew the scheme after its expiry in July this year.

He said that Russia would only renew the deal if Western countries agreed to certain conditions, which include lifting the economic sanctions placed on his country.

In July, Russia offered free grain to six African countries: Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea.

Source: BBC



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