Six chambers urge govt to seek extension of Black Sea grain deal
Six major business chambers in Bangladesh today urged the government to pursue a further extension of an international deal to help keep the grain supply smooth at home and abroad.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey, is an agreement that allows Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea despite the ongoing war with Russia.
The latest two-month extension expires on July 17.
In a joint statement, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the International Chamber of Commerce – Bangladesh (ICC-B), the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), and the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said Bangladesh and other countries would face risks if the initiative is not renewed.
Md Jashim Uddin, president of the FBCCI, Mahbubur Rahman, president of the ICC-B, Md Saiful Islam, president of the MCCI, Sameer Sattar, president of the DCCI, Mahbubul Alam, president of the CCCI and Naser Ezaz Bijoy, president of the FICCI, signed the statement.
The deal has facilitated the export of more than 32 million tonnes of foodstuffs through three Ukrainian ports to 45 countries, with wheat exported to the least-developed economies remaining largely unchanged from pre-war levels, they said.
As a direct result of the trade through the Black Sea – as well as exports of food and fertilisers from Russia, global food prices have dropped 22 per cent since March 2022, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The World Food Programme is procuring wheat from Ukraine at the same volumes as in 2021 to support humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
So, continued facilitation of Ukrainian and Russian exports of food and fertilisers thus remains crucial to global food security, the statement said.
It said any lapse in the deal risks severely jeopardising the availability and affordability of food for millions around the world, a situation that will have truly damaging social, economic and, above all, human consequences.
The trade bodies, therefore, called upon the government to strongly pursue the extension of the agreement.