Warring Ukraine has donated 25,000 tons of grain to Nigeria, pledging to establish grain centers in the country and in other African countries.

The development, which aims to strengthen bilateral ties between Nigeria and Ukraine, was unveiled in Abuja on Wednesday, when Ukrainian Food and Agrarian Policy Minister Mykola Solskyi led a delegation to a discussion with Foreign Minister Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama. and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mohammad Abubakar.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia for almost a year, but has managed to retain a leading place in world wheat production, where it currently ranks seventh.s.

  1. Register for Tekedia Mini-MBA (February 6 to May 6, 2023) here. With discount the price is N60,000 or $140 for January 13; the price goes up afterwards.
  2. Get in Tekedia Capital Union and own a share of the best startups in Africa here.

Solskyi said the beans, which are expected to arrive in Nigeria next month, are under the so-called ‘Ukrainian Beans’ initiative, which aims to broaden the relationship between the two countries.

“Despite the war with Russia, the Ukrainian food industry wants to have closer relations with Nigeria and we are very grateful to them that their country is ready to develop these relations.

“Despite all the events happening in the world, our countries are ready to develop this cooperation. The Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian president are willing to pay close attention to this development. We want to have regular contacts every year not only with our agriculture ministers but also with other ministers,” he said.

Nigeria and the rest of Africa were hit hard by the disruption of world grain supplies as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The cost of food, which has skyrocketed on the mainland, has yet to come down. Solskyi said that the ‘Ukrainian Grains’ initiative will help minimize the cost of food in Nigeria, which is a priority in the initiative.

“The development of such centers will make it possible to bring high-quality beans to your country and will positively influence prices in your country. Ukraine intends to develop two or three hubs in Africa and considering the capacity of his country, the grain hub in his country is the number one priority. If we implement it well, it would be a practical step for companies to reach a new level,” he said.

In his response, Onyeama praised the move, especially as it comes at a time when Ukraine is at war with a superior nation.

“Despite the situation your country is in, you can extend a hand of friendship not only to Nigeria but to other African countries. This shows superhuman courage and we really admire your generosity, we thank you for this support,” she said.

The Foreign Minister lamented the impacts of the war which, he noted, also affected the schooling of Nigerians in Ukraine. He added that Nigeria will do everything possible to end the war quickly.

“It has developed real expertise in many disciplines and Nigerian students are the beneficiaries. We can continue to strengthen relations between our two countries and our two peoples. We will do everything possible at the multilateral level to bring the war to a very quick end,” she said.

The Russia-Ukraine war has largely contributed to the high cost of flour in Nigeria as wheat imports decline. In 2021, Nigeria imported 51% of its wheat from the Baltics, where it is cheaper for its millers. But grain supplies have been severely undermined, among other things, by Western sanctions against Russia.

Against this backdrop, Africa’s largest economy is forecast to import 6 million tonnes of wheat in the 2022-23 marketing year, a 3% decline from the previous season, according to a report by the Global Agricultural Information Network. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service.

With its grain supply depleted, Africa has been looking for ways to increase production of wheat and other food products the continent depends on imports for its supply. Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Mohammad Abubakar said during the meeting with Solskyi that Nigeria is very willing and ready to provide the appropriate ports for this grain hub in the country.

“We thank and congratulate him because, despite the war, he still found time to extend a gesture of friendship to Nigeria and also donated grain. I can assure you that relations with Ukraine will improve, we have had business with Ukraine, especially in the agricultural sector and I can say that more than 30% of our agricultural business is with Ukraine, especially in the area of ​​wheat, fertilizers and other grains. . And this, I can assure you, will continue to improve our relationship.”

The Agriculture Minister told reporters that Ukraine has the technology and know-how to help Nigeria in wheat production, adding that the initiative will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

He explained that it is necessary to establish the grain centers to allow Nigeria to have adequate storage for the grains that will come from Ukraine.

“We are looking at the port of Lagos and also the port of Onne in Port Harcourt. Grains coming from Ukraine will increase the quantity of grains here and the center will eventually become a hub of business with other African countries and beyond and help stabilize the price,” he said.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group, in May of last year, approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avoid the food crisis stemming from the war between Russia and Ukraine. The fund aimed to develop the African Emergency Food Production Fund, which will provide African farmers with urgently needed high-quality seeds to immediately increase food supplies.

But the measure has yet to fill the alarming gap that has resulted in a major famine on the continent. The African Development Bank said the disruption to food supplies stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war puts Africa in shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food.