Drenthe farmers are hoping to receive grain exports from Ukraine sometime in the coming weeks. Ukraine and Russia signed a ‘mirror agreement’ on the 21st of July, facilitated by Turkey and the United Nations, allowing the transportation of around 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Bombing attacks in the port city of Odessa on the 24th of July some hours after the signing of the agreement, however, have brought uncertainty to the situation.
“The minister sounded positive. He was there for three hours and explained everything,” said Keez Huizinga, a farmer from Drenthe who attended a meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture on the 23rd, reports RTV Drenthe. Huizinga, who remains hopeful, noted that to his understanding no infrastructure related to the shipping of grain was damaged as a result of the recent bombing attack.
Caroline Emmen, director of the Committee of Grain Traders, remains concerned.
“The moment you attack the infrastructure, you can ask yourself if everyone dares to come to the port, trade the goods, load them and let the ships go,” said Emmen, as reported by the NOS. She agrees that should the deal proceed all parties involved, especially Ukrainian farmers and countries facing famine, will reap the benefits.
The NOS notes that if the Ukrainian grain will reach the rest of Europe food prices are almost certain to fall. At the announcement of the deal, wheat prices dropped by 2 percent on Friday, the 22nd of July, reports the BBC.
Both the NOS and the BBC state that the agreement is one of the most positive pieces of news to come out of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion in early 2022. According to the BBC, the agreement is set to last at least 120 days with the possibility of an extension should both parties agree to it.
As Ukrainian delegates were unwilling to meet with Russian representatives, the deal was constructed as a ‘mirror agreement’. Delegates from both sides met separately with representatives from Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul, where two ‘mirror agreements’ were finalized.
Ukraine and Russia, before the war, typically supplied an extensive portion of the world’s grain exports through the Black Sea. AD.nl cites that, as a result of the blockage, many countries reliant on wheat and grain imports have encountered a food crisis, especially in Asia and Africa.