The Black Sea Grain Initiative

The Black Sea region is known as the world’s major grain-producing area that includes wheat, corn, and barley. As the world’s significant producer and exporter of various grains, the region influences global grain prices and availability.

Its production helps meet the demand for food commodities, contributing to stable food supplies and mitigating risks of food shortages. On the regional economic development front, the region supports rural development, job creation, and export revenues that impact the overall economic growth and stability of many economies. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are major players in the global grain trade with exports extending to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative or BSGI has already demonstrated its significance to the international trade scene by enabling the export of more than 32 million metric tons of foodstuff from three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea to 45 countries across three continents.

The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that since March 2022, there has been a 22-percent drop in world food prices. The procurement of 700,000 tons of wheat through the BGSI by the World Food Programme helped support humanitarian operations. The continued facilitation of Ukrainian and Russian exports of food and fertilizer remains critical to global food security.

From a local business perspective, this initiative holds great significance as it has ensured a stable and reliable source of grains for the Philippines. The accessibility of high-quality and cheaper grains, as well as inexpensive fertilizer from the Black Sea region, has been a driving force behind the growth and sustainability of various sectors within our local economy, including food processing, livestock, and poultry, among others. The availability and affordability of a consistent grain supply is essential to maintaining the competitiveness and profitability of these industries.

The International Chamber of Commerce or ICC has played a central role in the ideation of the BSGI and continues to work closely with the United Nations for the effective implementation of the said initiative. Unfortunately, the BSGI is expiring this July and an urgent call has been made for governments, ASEAN, APEC, business organizations, and the rest of the world to speak out — in the media and through diplomatic channels — and express the desire of the international community to see the BSGI extended for a further term.

ICC Philippines has written the Russian and Ukrainian envoys to help support the continuance of BSGI. Indeed, allowing the initiative to lapse will put millions of people’s access to the supply and low cost of food in grave danger with devastating social, economic, and human repercussions.

ICC Philippines enjoins other business organizations in this move to further the life of the BSGI.

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