The first shipment of 20,000 tons of fertilizer left the Netherlands on a World Food Program-chartered ship, MV Greenwich, on Tuesday, bound for Malawi via Mozambique, said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
It will be the first in a series of fertilizer shipments destined for other countries on the African continent in the coming months, Dujarric said in a statement.
The United Nations welcomes the donation of 260,000 metric tons of Russian-made fertilizer stored in European ports and warehouses, which will serve to alleviate humanitarian needs and prevent catastrophic crop losses in Africa. The fertilizer donation initiative is part of agreements signed in Istanbul on July 22 to address global food insecurity and ensure unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia to world markets, the statement said.
The secretary-general thanks the governments of Russia, Malawi and the Netherlands, in close coordination with the European Union, for their willingness to allow this first critical humanitarian shipment of fertilizer by WFP for global food security, he said.
The United Nations is continuing intensive diplomatic efforts with all parties to ensure unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia, exempt from sanctions regimes, to world markets, it said.
Fertilizers play a key role in food systems, as 50 percent of the world’s population depends on agricultural products that are produced with the help of mineral fertilizers. Reconnecting fertilizer markets is a critical step to ensure global food security by 2023 and the United Nations will continue to do everything possible, with all parties, to achieve this goal, according to the statement. ■