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Malawi Gets Russian Fertilizer


FILE: A Malawian subsistence farmer carries a bag of fertilizer near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi February 1, 2016. Late rains in Malawi threaten the staple maize crop and have pushed prices to record highs.

A first shipment of Russian fertiliser left the Netherlands on Tuesday bound for Malawi after days of wrangling to ensure it was not snagged by Western sanctions.

Dutch and UN customs officials said some 20,000 tons of Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium (NPK) left on board the MV Greenwich from the southern Dutch port of Terneuzen on Tuesday afternoon.

The ship was chartered by the UN's food security agency, the World Food Program (WFP).

"The ship has 20,000 tons of fertilizer on board destined for Malawi," Dutch customs official Pieter ten Broeke told AFP, saying that the vessel sailed at around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT).

The shipment is the first of some 260,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stored in ports around Europe, which the UN said would help prevent "catastrophic crop loss in Africa" where the planting season was underway.

The shipment "is the first of a series of shipments of fertilizer destined for a number of other countries on the African continent in the coming months," the UN said in a statement issued in New York.

The shipment "is the first of a series of shipments of fertilizer destined for a number of other countries on the African continent in the coming months," the UN said in a statement issued in New York.


"The ship has 20,000 tons of fertilizer on board destined for Malawi," Dutch customs official Pieter ten Broeke told AFP, saying that the vessel sailed at around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT).

The shipment is the first of some 260,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stored in ports around Europe, which the UN said would help prevent "catastrophic crop loss in Africa" where the planting season was underway.

The UN was pressing "intense diplomatic efforts with all parties to ensure the unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilizers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, exempt from sanction regimes, to the world markets," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

An agreement to ensure Russia's fertilizer exports were exempt from sanctions imposed on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine was reached in July in a bid to ease the global food insecurity crisis.

Dutch officials, however, blocked the shipment, saying an individual on the sanctions list was involved in the fertilizer company.

Officials gave the green light after UN assurances that the shipment would be delivered to Malawi, its intended destination and that the Russian company and the sanctioned individual would not benefit.

The shipment is set to be offloaded in the central Mozambican port of Beira, before being transported overland to the landlocked Malawi in southern Africa.



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