Kenya on Monday received 16,000 metric tonnes of sorghum and 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat from Ukraine and the US.
The donation is part of Ukraine ‘Grain from Ukraine’ humanitarian programme. Ukraine is currently battling Russia, following the February 24 invasion.
The fifth ship carrying Ukrainian wheat was received at the port of Mombasa by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, International Coordination Group for the Prevention member Dr Christopher Fomunyoh and Ambassadors from the donor countries to the programme among them Andrii Pravednyk (Ukraine) and Meg Whitman (US).
The shipment was supported by the UN World Food Program with financial assistance from the governments of the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
DP Gachagua said Kenya was grateful to the international partners for the donation, which was immediately flagged off to counties affected by famine at the Port of Mombasa.
“”In a special way, H.E. President William Ruto and I, as well as the people of Kenya, we thank Ukraine for their support despite being in the middle of war. We applaud you.
“We deeply appreciate the countries who purchased the food – United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Czech Republic. I recognise the critical role played by WFP, which facilitated the delivery,” the Deputy President said.
According to International Rescue Committee, about 5.4 million people in Kenya are projected to face high levels of acute food insecurity between March and June this year of which 1.2 million people will likely be in the emergency phase.
This latest projection highlights a 43 per cent increase of people facing high levels of food insecurity compared to the same period last year.
US Ambassador Meg Whitman said her country has long worked to end hunger globally providing $13.5 billion in 2022 to food security efforts.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative has improved global food security by moving over 24 million metric tons of lifesaving food supplies to global markets. Ukrainian grain is reaching millions in need, including here in Africa,” Ambassador Whitman said.
Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office and Chairman of the International Coordination Group for the Prevention of Hunger said before the war, Africa imported more than $1.4 billion in wheat from Ukraine.
“Today’s shipment to Kenya cements our ongoing commitment to tackle forced famine across Africa’s most vulnerable nations. While we continue to defend our nation against external aggression, we have not forgotten our humanitarian obligation towards our allies in time of need,”Yermak said
On his part, Dr Fomunyoh, said several countries across Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia, are facing the worst food crisis seen in 40 years.
“Global factors, such as ongoing climate change in Africa, the escalating conflict in Ukraine, inflation around the world and a surge in global food prices, have caused devastating hunger ripples worldwide. Through the “Grain from Ukraine” humanitarian programme, we will ensure that Ukrainian grain is provided to people in need, so as to tackle forced famine across Africa and the world,” he said.
The Grain from Ukraine programme was launched by President Zelenskyy in November 2022, to provide assistance to nations affected by the ongoing global food crisis. It has also been interpreted as bid to gain support from the developing nations against the Russian invasion.
Since the beginning of its launch, the programme has delivered over 140,000 tonnes wheat to Africa.
More than 30 countries and international organisations, including EU countries, the US, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, and Qatar, have contributed to the Grain from Ukraine programme, with over $200 million in donations raised.