Russia offers 60-day extension to the Black Sea Grain Initiative to further extend the humanitarian initiative as the deal agreed between Ukraine and Russia last July is due to expire in just a few days.

Russia announced earlier that it would agree to a 60-day extension, which is half the number of days agreed when it first expired in November, as the UN says.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative have allowed the exports of 24 million Metric Tonnes of grain and over 1,600 secure vessel voyages through the Black Sea with 55 per cent of food exports going to developing countries.

The continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is crucial for global food security, as grain and fertilizer prices and availability have not returned to pre-war levels, causing hardship particularly in developing countries, said the United Nations in a note release to journalists.

The press statement came following talks with a high-level Russian delegation on Monday at the UN in Geneva involving the top UN officials who facilitated the deal on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres, Trade and Development chief Rebeca Grynspan, and relief chief, Martin Griffiths.

The UN Secretary-General expressed that the UN “remains fully committed to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as to efforts to facilitate the export of Russian food and fertilizer.”

Few days ago Intecargo, the Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners, was calling for the facilitation of safe navigation for exports of fertilizers, including ammonia. These shipments have not yet commenced, and Intercargo warns that they are essential to avoid a global food availability crisis in 2023, due to continued high fertilizer prices.

“Those who find themselves in the most need must not be paying the highest price for this tragic conflict,” Intercargo says.

The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners also reminds all operators of the importance of using all resources available to ensure safety of navigation, and to continue to put the safety of bulk carrier crews to the forefront of any commercial decision.