Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay: UK stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine to protect global food security
Environment Secretary recently addressed Kyiv conference and announced further support for Ukraine food security initiatives.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay set out a package of support for Ukraine while addressing the international community at the Kyiv International Summit: Grain from Ukraine recently – showing the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked assault.
In his video address to the conference, the Secretary of State reaffirmed the UK’s support for President Zelenskyy’s Grain from Ukraine initiative, with £3 million of additional funding to enable shipments of Ukrainian grain to Nigeria in 2024, coordinated through the World Food Programme. This follows £5 million that the UK contributed to the initiative in 2022, which facilitated lifesaving grain shipments to Kenya.
The event comes on the day Ukraine marks Holodomor Memorial Day – the famine caused by the Soviet government forcibly seizing grain and other food from Ukrainians in 1932-33 leading to the deaths of at least 3.9 million people.
After tearing up the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia destroyed over 280,000 tonnes of grain in one month, which could have fed over 1.25 million people for a year. In the face of these relentless and targeted attacks on ports and grain infrastructure, the initiative ensures Ukrainian grain still reaches those most in need while protecting global food security, keeping prices down and strengthening markets.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay recently said:
From our government to our farmers, our solidarity with the people of Ukraine remains cast iron. The UK is committed to ensuring Ukraine can continue to export grain to those most in need.
I am also proud we will be able to share the UK and Defra’s expertise to help Ukraine’s farmland and nature recover from the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam and the impact of the conflict.
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay also updated the conference on the development of our Grain Verification Scheme, which is being backed with £2 million in UK funding. The scheme will use cutting edge science to determine where grain has been grown and harvested – supporting Ukraine’s efforts to trace and stop theft of grain from occupied regions. Further information on the scheme will be unveiled early next year.
Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has also had a disastrous impact on Ukraine’s natural environment. During his speech, the Secretary of State noted the UK’s support to help restore contaminated agricultural land and nature in Ukraine that have been devastated from both flooding and conflict. This includes in June when the Environment Agency provided £16 million of flood equipment, including pumps and temporary barriers, following the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam which led to widespread flooding and damage.
As part of the Grain from Ukraine programme, Ukraine has sent 170 thousand tonnes of grain to countries experiencing the greatest food insecurity, including Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen. The programme is planned to be expanded to other countries in need with the UK providing a further £3 million, which was previously announced by the Prime Minister at the G20 Summit, to fund a shipment of Ukrainian grain to Nigeria.
The Kyiv International Summit: Grain from Ukraine brought together more than 60 leaders of countries and organisations, covering strengthening Ukraine’s humanitarian role with global food security, expanding the Grain from Ukraine initiative, both in terms of funding and recipient countries, encouraging business involvement in the initiative, coordinating activity to end blockage of and attacks on Black Sea ports by Russia.
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