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Nigerians Hopeful as Putin Agrees to Free Up Ukrainian Grain Exports

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The Russia-Ukraine war has contributed substantially to the current global inflation plaguing economies, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. 

The federal government of Nigeria had recently attributed the worrying food inflation it currently suffers to the disruption of supply caused by the war, citing that aside from the disruption of Ukraine grain export, it has been difficult to get potash, a key ingredient in the production of fertiliser, which has led to a jump in the prices.

Nigeria, a fertilizer-producing country, has struggled with demand in recent months since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. In April, Nigeria was forced to buy emergency supplies of potash from other sellers after it was unable to import the key ingredient from Ukraine due to disruption in supply caused by the war. Recently, however, in a meeting with Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Putin assured the representative of African leaders that he was ready to reactivate the export of Ukrainian grain to mollify the global food crises that have been severe in Africa.

Macky Sall tweeted after the meeting with Putin: “President Putin has expressed to us his willingness to facilitate the export of Ukrainian cereals.” Sall also added that Russia was ready to ensure the export of its own wheat and fertiliser after talks in Sochi. Although he did not disclose whether Putin had attached conditions and terms to his offer, it is understood that Russia had agreed to allow vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine on conditions that the Western sanctions imposed against it be lifted, a deal that Ukraine flagged off as “blackmail”.

African countries rely heavily on Russia and Ukraine for the supply of grains. Russia and Ukraine account for one-third of global wheat supplies, and Russia is a giant exporter of fertiliser. African leaders are therefore hopeful that Putin keeps to his promise, a move that would ease the food inflation currently plaguing the continent.

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