Lift Grain & Fertilizer Sanctions vs Russia-Grow Food to End Starvation in Africa & the World

Black Sea Grain Initiative Exposed

July 31, 2023

Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center
During the period of the Initiative, 75% of Ukraine’s grain exports went to Europe, China, and Türkiye, while very poor countries got between 2.5% and 3%.


In this article: Black Sea Grain Initiative Exposed, excerpted below, EIR magazine usefully exposes the false narrative attacking Russia for the food global shortage.

The following concepts should be clear to all those truly concerned about eradicating hunger in Africa and other parts of the world.   
 
First of all, Russia is not causing the world food shortage by ending the Black Sea Grain Initiaive. As indicated by EIR, only a tiny fraction of Ukraine’s wheat has been exported to poor nations whose populations are suffering from severe food insecurity. Second of all, Russia is the leading exporter of wheat and fertilizer components in the world. Sanctions against Russia has harmed all food importing nations. Lifting sanctions against Russia would help to alleviate food shortages immediately. The West never honored their part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement that stipulated that there would be an easing of Russia’s export of wheat and fertilizers.  
 
Most important of all, there is no objective reason for food insecurity among any people of any nation on this planet! This brings us to the heart of the issue regarding food insecurity. Does the West really care about global food deficiencies, or has it become another weapon in the U.S. led proxy war against Russia?
 
Hunger on our planet could have been eliminated decades ago. For over 12,000 years, humankind has known how to grow food. When advances in technology, irrigation, mechanization, and fertilizers have been applied to farming, yields per hectare have massively increased.  I have personally witnessed this in my travels through the agricultural regions  of the United States.
 
For 30 years I have traveled throughout many sub-Saharan African nations, which are endowed with fertile soil, and large amounts of arable, but uncultivated land, creating a huge potential for the expansion of food production. If African nations in particular had been assisted in developing a modern agricultural sector coupled with an expanding manufacturing sector, hunger would cease to exist, and  the African continent would be a net food exporter.
 
The failure by Western nations and financial institutions, over the last six decades, to collaborate in creating vibrant agro-manufacturing economies in Africa, is the cause of food insecurity on the continent today.
 
A new paradigm of global relations, encompassing  a new financial architecture, dedicated to promoting economic development, would create the potential for leading food and fertilizer producing nations to begin the process of doubling world agricultural output. Progress would be visible immediately, and in the near future, no human being would have to suffer from want of food, anywhere on our planet.  

EIR excerpts:

Narrative #1: The outrageous lie that Ukraine was a major provider of grain to poor countries, and Russia was starving people by its special military operation. Fact check: Ukraine has been, since the 1990s, a major source of grain on the commercial market for developed countries, e.g. Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, China and others—for livestock feed and food needs.

These importers account for over 90% of Ukraine’s exports, and this kind of “world sourcing,” was imposed on Ukraine beginning in the 1990s, by the multi-national cartels which came to dominate land use, processing, shipping and export destinations. It was these cartels which Ambassador Polyansky named as having profited from the year-long Black Sea Grain Initiative.

In brief, the breakdown of Ukraine’s exports of 32–33 million metric tons of grain during the period of the Initiative: 32.9 million tons total, of which 40% went to European countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, others), 25% to China; 10% to Türkiye. The very poorest countries got between 2.5% and 3% of the Ukraine grain exports over the period of the Initiative. This is illustrated by an infographic from the Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center. (Emphasis added)

Narrative #2: Promoted in Fall 2022 to replace the discredited “Ukraine supplies poor countries” version. It states that preventing Ukraine Black Sea food exports raises the prices on the world grain markets, and that is what harms poor, grain-import dependent nations. There is a grain of truth to this, but with a big exception. The West is doing less than nothing to increase grain production where possible, to supply emergency relief, and to put an end to the underlying causes of hunger to begin with.
The relevant figures of global underproduction of food can be seen in the volume of annual output of total grains, listed in order of volume: corn/maize, wheat, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, etc. With over 8 billion people in the world, at the rough metric of half a ton of grain production per person, we should be producing some 4 billion tons a year (for direct consumption, and indirect consumption through the animal protein chain). But the annual global harvest is actually running at below 3 billion tons. Total grains output for the current and past two years is hovering in the same range: 2.799 billion metric tons in 2021/22, 2.745 bmt in 2022/23, and 2.831 bmt projected for 2023/24).


Read my earlier post:
Africa Threatened With Starvation: No Objective Reason

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Ethiopia to Djibouti Railroad Successfully Growing Ethiopia’s Economy

Ethiopia to Djibouti Railroad Successfully Growing Ethiopia’s Economy

The Chinese-African built railroad from Addis-Ababa to Djibouti has been a success, as I knew it would. Inaugurated in October 2016, it has  allowed Ethiopia to effectively overcome being a landlocked nation. Railroads increase productivity, create growth, build cities, and establish new manufacturing-agricultural centers. Africa will be transformed-industrialized when it is able to generate hundreds of thousands of megawatts of electricity and build tens of thousands of kilometers of rail lines connecting major capitals, cities, and ports across the continent. Ethiopia has been a leader in economic growth by investing in vitally needed infrastructure, such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, to begin operation in late 2020.

Railroads across Ethiopia will increase its import and export capability.

Roundup: Ethiopia-Djibouti railway adds impetus to Ethiopia’s agricultural economy

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — The Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway has won acclaim for facilitating landlocked Ethiopia’s import-export necessities.

For the past more than one year, it has transported much-needed agricultural inputs to Ethiopia’s agriculture-dominated economy.

Tilahun Sarka, Director-General of Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway Share Company (EDR), said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the 752 km-long Africa’s first transnational electrified railway is leveraging the smooth transportation of Ethiopia’s major import and export commodities, mainly fertilizer and wheat.

“The railway is showing major progress in terms of facilitating Ethiopia’s basic import-export activities as it significantly reduced both the travel cost and time from landlocked Ethiopia to ports in its neighboring Djibouti,” Sarka told Xinhua.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway commenced its commercial operations for both passenger and freight services in January last year, eventually connecting landlocked Ethiopia to ports in the Red Sea nation of Djibouti.

The EDR director underscored the railway’s achievements over the past one and a half years, with particular emphasis on easing the pressure in transporting the much-needed imported agricultural and food security inputs, mainly fertilizer and wheat, from ports in Djibouti all the way to the Lebu Railway Station on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Figures from ERD show that the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway has been able to carry more than 70,000 tons of fertilizer from the Djibouti port to Ethiopia over the past few months, as the East African country embarked with its main harvesting season since May.

“Fertilizer is a very important commodity to Ethiopia’s socio-economic well-being,” Sarka said, adding “It is by far considered as a major imported priority item by the Ethiopian government.”

Ethiopia – Africa’s second populous nation with about 109 million total population, according to the World Bank’s latest report – is an agrarian economy.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which described Ethiopia as “one of the top-performing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa with an average growth rate of 11 percent over the last seven years,” dubbed the agriculture sector as “the mainstay of the Ethiopian economy, and exports almost entirely relies on agricultural commodities.”

Sarka, who dubbed fertilizer as a “political cargo,” also said that “a failure to import the much-needed fertilizer would adversely affect Ethiopia’s overall security, as far as igniting public uproar against the Ethiopian government.

Sarka also emphasized the joint Ethiopian government and EDR’s future plan that envisaged “to significantly boost the railway’s share in the transportation of fertilizer to the country.”

“Both the Ethiopian government and EDR give particular emphasis to the smooth transportation of fertilizers from the Djibouti port to Ethiopia, as well as the export of other export-bound agricultural commodities from Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia to the port,” Sarka said.

Ethiopia imported a total of about 1.3 million tons of fertilizer during the just-concluded Ethiopian 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to figures from the Ethiopian government.

Built by two Chinese companies, the first 320-km of the project from Sebeta to Mieso was carried out by the China Railway Group Limited (CREC), while the remaining 423-km from Mieso to Djibouti port section was built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway is presently managed by a consortium of Chinese companies – CREC and CCECC – for a period of six years undertaking railway operation and maintenance management activities.

According to Sarka, the six-year contract was given to the two Chinese firms mainly due to the shortage of electrified railway operation and management experience in the two involved countries.

Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway