By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Relief may soon come the way of the drough-hit Ethiopia battling acute food shortage, as the third vessel hired by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has left Ukraine’s Chornomorsk Black Sea port with around 30,000 tonnes of wheat on board.
“The vessel is headed for Ethiopia. According to UN estimates, Ethiopia is on the verge of a food crisis,” Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry announced on Saturday.
The ministry said that in partnership with the WFP, three ships loaded with more than 90,000 tonnes of wheat are on their way to Ethiopia and Yemen.
“We plan to export another 190,000 tonnes, which are currently being purchased by UN partners,” the ministry said, adding that besides the IKARIA ANGEL, another nine vessels have left Ukrainian ports on Saturday.
The country’s grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports – a key route for shipments – were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.
Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.