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Secretary-General Welcomes Fertilizer Shipment from Russian Federation Producers to Malawi, Stressing Donation ‘a Critical Step' for Global Food Security

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

The United Nations welcomes the donation of 260,000 metric tons of fertilizer from Russian Federation fertilizer producers stored in the European ports and warehouses, which will serve to alleviate humanitarian needs and prevent catastrophic crop loss in Africa, where it is currently planting season.

The first shipment of 20,000 metric tons of fertilizer left the Netherlands on a World Food Programme (WFP)-chartered vessel, MV Greenwich, starting today, destined for Malawi via Mozambique.  It will be the first of a series of shipments of fertilizer destined for a number of other countries on the African continent in the coming months.

This fertilizer donation initiative is part of the agreements signed in Istanbul on 22 July to address global food insecurity and to ensure the unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilizers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation to world markets.

The Secretary-General thanks the Governments of the Russian Federation, Malawi and the Government of the Netherlands, in close coordination with the European Union, for their willingness to enable this first critical humanitarian shipment of fertilizer by WFP for global food security.

The United Nations is continuing intense diplomatic efforts with all parties to ensure the unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilizers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, exempt from sanction regimes, to the world markets.

Fertilizers play a key role in food systems, as 50 per cent of the world population depend on agricultural products that are produced with the help of mineral fertilizers.  Since 2019, fertilizer prices have increased by 250 per cent, which has produced a “fertilizer crunch” that is pricing farmers out of production, especially smallholder farmers from the developing world.  Nitrogen fertilizer shortages this year could result in a production loss next year of 66 million tons of staple crops (maize, rice and wheat), enough to feed 3.6 billion people, almost half of humanity, for a month.

Reconnecting fertilizer markets is a critical step to ensure global food security for 2023 and the United Nations will continue to make every effort, with all parties, to achieve this goal.

For information media. Not an official record.