Russia vows 20,000 tons of fertilizers to Nigeria free of charge: FM
Lavrov says this decision is in line with a commitment made by Russia's President last year.
Russia will provide a fertilizer shipment to Nigeria free of charge soon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Last September, President [Vladimir] Putin announced that we were ready to deliver 300,000 tons of our fertilizers, illegally seized in EU ports, to African countries free of charge," he said recalling Putin's pledge.
"Fully in line with colonial practices and habits, the EU leadership blocked this initiative. It took us 6 months to get at least the first shipment of 20,000 tons to Malawi, and just recently another shipment of a similar amount of fertilizer was delivered to Kenya. The same shipment is scheduled to go to Nigeria soon," Lavrov said after a visit to Burundi.
Russia's top diplomat noted that this will be the result of huge efforts by the World Food Program WFP and UN chief Antonio Guterres to "overcome the openly Russophobic position of EU members who oppose any initiatives that in one way or another will help developing countries if such assistance is provided by the Russian side."
In November 2022, David Beasley, the executive director of the WFP, said all nations must cooperate in implementing the grain deal [Black Sea Grain Initiative] since the world needs Russian grain and fertilizers, whether other countries "love or hate Russia."
Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed an UN-brokered agreement in July 2022 to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships transporting food and fertilizers from Ukrainian Black Sea ports - the agreement was called the Black Sea Grain Initiative or grain deal. The deal was recently extended in May for two months.
"This deal is crucial. Everybody has to cooperate, everybody has a role to play here. I don't care whether you love or hate Russia, we need Russian grain and fertilizer around the world. Otherwise, a whole world will pay a price," Beasley said on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.
Russia alone in 2021 was the leading exporter of nitrogen fertilizers, the second major supplier of potassium fertilizers, and the third-largest supplier of phosphorous fertilizers.
Western sanctions on Moscow imposed over the war in Ukraine have undermined Russia's sales of agricultural products around the globe.
Most of the grain leaving Ukraine's ports after the grain shipments deadlock that exacerbated the international food crisis is heading to the European Union instead of developing countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in September 2022, as the world's poorest nations bear the brunt of the food crisis most.
But Russia is not the only relevant party calling out Western countries for preventing grain and fertilizer shipments from reaching poor countries, especially those in Africa.
The Food and Agriculture Organization FAO revealed in October 2022 that only a quarter of the grain exported under the UN-brokered initiative is going to low-income countries.
"Now, the concern again, is that despite these bigger food availabilities, still only around 25 to 26% of the grain ... is going to low-income countries," a FAO statement said then.