Russia gives Zimbabwe 50 000 tonnes of grain President Vladimir Putin

Innocent Madonko in ST PETERSBURG, Russia

RUSSIA will, in the next three months, supply 50 000 tonnes of grain, which includes wheat, barley and maize, to Zimbabwe free of charge in a humanitarian gesture meant to cement the already strong bilateral ties between the two countries.

Addressing a plenary session of the Second Summit of the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which opened here today, Russia President Vladimir Putin, said the deal would also be extended to Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia and Eritrea.

Grain deliveries would be free of charge with Russia meeting the costs of transporting the cargo.

President Putin said Russia was expecting a record bumper harvest this year and was in a position to replace exports of grain to Africa by Ukraine following the collapse last week of a grain deal between the two countries which allowed safe passage of grain exports by Kiev through the Black Sea.

He said Russia pulled out of the grain deal because none of the promises it was given about facilitating its own grain and fertilizer exports had been met.

Despite Western sanctions which made it hard for Russia to export its grain and fertilisers, the Russian leader said Moscow would go the extra mile to ensure that food is delivered to those in need in Africa.

“In the next three/four months, we will be ready to provide to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea 25-50 000 tonnes of grain to each. We will ensure free shipping of this cargo,” said President Putin to applause from delegates.

The Second Russia-Africa Summit has drawn 17 Heads of State, including President Mnangagwa, with 49 of the continent’s 54 States represented.

Zimbabwe is food secure, having recorded bumper wheat and maize harvests last season, but will certainly welcome any additional grain into its silos to augment the country’s strategic reserves.

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