KENYA – Ukraine plans to install a cereal hub at the port of Mombasa to increase its exports to East Africa.

This was announced by Kenyan President William Ruto after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which is ongoing from September 19 in New York.

In a statement regarding the meeting, Ruto said that the Ukrainian president was committed to establishing a “grain hub” in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, but did not provide any details on how the grain hub would be set up or how grain would be transported to Kenya.

The plan for “grain hubs” comes after the Russian government announced on July 17 that it was backing out of a wartime trade deal that allowed Ukraine to send grain to other countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia through the Black Sea.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was created to limit global food shortages caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, has allowed over 32 million metric tons of grain to be transported to the rest of the world since the conflict began in 2022.

During separate discussions between Zelensky and Ramaphosa, the Ukrainian President said the country was looking for alternative ways and routes to supply grain to Africa.

Ukraine has been an increasingly important exporter of grain to Africa. According to Argus Media, about 6.26 million tons of Ukrainian wheat were exported to Africa during the 2021-22 marketing year (June-July), accounting for nearly 12% of African wheat imports.

In January, the Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Mykola Solskyi, led a delegation to Nigeria in a quest to bolster its relationships with African nations as well as its intention to build a logistics hub to facilitate grain and food deliveries.

During the visit, Solskyi said that after meeting with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, the country was considered the first African country to set up the hub following its readiness for the business.

Later in June, the intent was sealed with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine and the international company Lagos Free Zone (Tolaram Group) to set up a grain terminal at the Lekki Port in Lagos, Nigeria.

Signed by the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Taras Vysotsky on the sidelines of the “Conference on the Recovery of Ukraine” in London, the corporation aims to help ensure food security in the African continent.

Vysotsky, who was representing the government, revealed that Ukraine has the capacity and technical know-how to build a grain terminal being the largest exporter and producer of wheat in the world.

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