By The COAST Reporter
Ukraine vessel with 51,000 tons of wheat docked at Kilindini Port being the first one since Russia launched a military invasion against Ukraine in February 2022.
‘Super Henry’ docked at the Port of Mombasa on Sunday carrying 51,400 tons of Ukrainian wheat.
Ukrainian ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk received the vessel and supervised the offloading of the 51,000 tons of wheat.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain suppliers, with a share in global trade of around 10 per cent.
“The war against Ukraine has affected about 25 per cent of the world cereal trade, caused an increase in world prices, food inflation, and reduced access to food in the countries that import food from Ukraine, in particular wheat and sunflower oil,” said Pravednyk.
He added that two more vessels are expected to dock soon with one carrying 53,800 metric tons while the other carrying 23,000 metric tons of wheat.
“This brings the total amount of wheat that Ukraine is sending to Kenya to 128,200 metric tons far below the required amount. I assure the Kenya government our cooperation will go on and as well work with commercial companies to bring more wheat to Kenya,” added Pravednyk.
As per the Ukrainian statistics, in 2021 Ukraine exported to Kenya a record 355.5 thousand metric tons of wheat worth USD 89.7 million while Kenya imported approximately 2.4 million tons of wheat last year making Ukrainian share of wheat in the Kenyan market to 15 per cent in the overall Kenyan wheat import balance.
UN World Food Programme Report of August 2022, indicate that 4.1 million Kenyans are acutely food insecure and require immediate resolute actions.
“We are confident that the arrival of “Super Henry” to the Port of Mombasa with 51,400 tons of Ukrainian wheat cargo will bring significant relief to Kenyan consumers, that will help mitigate the prices and remove the deficit,” Pravednyk said.
The ambassador said the missiles strikes and shelling by Russian troops had damaged and destroyed dozens of farms, stocks of food and seed, silos, warehouses, oil depots, agriculture machinery and equipment.
He added that at least 90 agribusinesses have been damaged in Ukraine with about 13 per cent of Ukrainian territory being contaminated by Russian mines and explosive remnants of war.
“The Russian occupiers have already damaged or completely destroyed approximately 4 million tons of our grain storage capacity. They have seized up to 1 million tons of grain crops and sunflower oil at the estimated cost of USD 600 million,” he said.
Pravednyk estimates the total damage by Russian soldiers to Ukrainian agricultural sector to USD 4.29 billion as market experts forecast the production of grain in Ukraine in 2022 at the level of 65 million tons 40 per cent less than what the country produced in 2021.
“Even under Russian attacks, Ukraine and Ukrainian farmers have resolved to fulfill their obligations in supplying grain and other agricultural products to those who need it most. The crucial precondition is keeping our seaports unblocked and sea passages free to navigate,” the ambassador stressed.
Pravednyk remained confident that despite the Russian pressure, the Grain Initiative brokered by the UN Secretary General and President of Turkey on July 22 will be prolonged and reinforced.
He said that since the initiative became operational, 350 ship with 7.8 million tons of agricultural produce were dispatched from Ukrainian ports, with more than 1.1 million tons for African countries.
He outlined the importance of Ukraine to Kenya demanding Russia to immediately stop its aggression, and keep its commitments under the ‘Grain corridor’ to the safety of commercial vehicles operating in the Black Sea.
“Successful shipment of Ukrainian wheat to the Port of Mombasa is our joint victory and we will work tirelessly to bring both peace and bread to our country and to the rest of the world,” he said.
“As our Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba mentioned during his African tour this October, ‘we are in one boat’. The vessel with Ukrainian grain to Kenya is not only a vital supply, but also a symbol of our perseverance and unity” he said.