Press Release

Note to Correspondents: Update on the Black Sea Grain Initiative

19 January 2023

From August 2022 to date, 17.8 million tonnes of grain and other food products have been exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to 43 countries.  

In December, the exports through the Ukrainian Black Sea ports marked a bit over 3.7 million metric tonnes, up from 2.6 million in November. In the last two weeks, nearly 1.2 million metric tonnes of food have been moved from those ports. However, unfavourable weather conditions both in Odesa ports as well as in Turkish inspection areas have curbed some movements in the last week.  

So far and according to information reported at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), China is the primary recipient of exports, Spain is second and Türkiye is third. Nearly 44 per cent of the wheat exported has been shipped to low and lower-middle income countries (64% to developing economies). The World Food Programme bought 8 percent of the total wheat exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative in 2022 in support of its humanitarian operations in hunger-struck places around the world.  

Over 1,300 voyages have been enabled so far by the Joint Coordination Centre. Currently, there are more than 100 vessels in Turkish territorial waters connected to the Initiative, 32 are waiting for inspection, while the rest have applied to participate in the Initiative. Since November, the JCC has been deploying three inspection teams daily. So far, this month, the teams conclude an average of 5.3 inspections per day. In the last two weeks, the average waiting time of vessels between application and inspection is 21 days.  

The United Nations urges all parties to work to remove obstacles for the reduction of the backlog and improve operational efficiencies within the JCC.  

All the detailed and up-to-date data and information on exports, cargo and reported destinations are kept on our website

The Initiative calls also for the facilitation of safe navigation for exports of fertilizers, including ammonia. However, the shipment of ammonia from the Ukrainian ports has not yet begun. Ammonia, a key ingredient in the fertilizer production, is urgently needed on the market to bring these prices down and make it more affordable. The parties negotiating on how to get ammonia to the market through the Togliatti/Yuznhy pipeline are still in discussions and are yet to reach an agreement. 

The two agreements signed in Istanbul in July 2022, the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding, aim to supply world markets with volumes of grains, other food products, and fertilizers to help bring down global food and fertilizer prices and ease global food insecurity. Achieving this goal requires the full implementation of both agreements on unimpeded export of Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to global markets. This is now more critical than ever given the urgency to address potential global food availability crisis in 2023 due to continued high fertilizer prices. 

The United Nations continues to support those and related efforts to increase the availability of food and fertilizer as part of the assistance it continues to provide in the implementation of the agreements. 

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations

Goals we are supporting through this initiative