Accessibility links

Breaking News

Grain Crunch A " Wake-up Call" for Africa: Ramaphosa

FILE: Grain is placed on Ukrainian and Russian flags in this picture illustration. Taken 5.9.2022

The Ukraine grain crisis should act as a "wake-up call" for Africa to become self-reliant in producing cereals and fertilizers, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the world grain crisis crunch should spur African countries to boost food production to reduce imports.

"Do we want to continue for years to come to rely, for our grains, for our fertilizers, on that part of the world?..."should we say this conflict is a wake-up call like Covid became a wake-up call to many of us on the African continent to start producing our own vaccines?" Ramaphosa said at a press conference with Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara in Pretoria.

Ramaphosa remarks come as Russia and Ukraine on Friday penned a landmark deal with the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Black Sea delivery routes, which could ease the global food crisis.

Speaking alongside Ramaphosa, Ouattara said he told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call earlier this week that Africa should be prioritized as shipments resume.

Ukraine's farms are a major source of grain for the world market, in particular in the Middle East and Africa, where food supplies are critically tight.

Cereal prices in the world's poorest continent have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest.

Africa needs to start producing its own fertilizers, Ramaphosa said.