By Michelle Nichols
June 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that temporary silos would be built along the border with Ukraine, including in Poland, in a bid to help export more grain from the virus-ravaged country. virus. war and deal with a growing global food crisis.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and blockaded its Black Sea ports, grain shipments have stalled and more than 20 million tons are stuck in silos. Ukraine has warned that it is facing a shortage of silos for the new crop.
The war has pushed up the prices of grain, cooking oil, fuel and fertilizer. Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of the world’s wheat supply. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil, and Russia is a key exporter of fertilizers.
“I am working closely with our European partners to bring 20 million tons of grain locked in Ukraine to market to help lower food prices,” Biden said.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Ukraine and Russia have placed sea mines. Some 84 foreign ships remain stuck in Ukrainian ports, many with cargoes of grain on board.
Biden said the United States is working on a plan to get grain out of Ukraine by rail, but noted Ukrainian rail gauges are different from those in Europe, so grain must be transferred to different trains at the border.
“So we are going to build silos, temporary silos, on the borders of Ukraine, even in Poland,” he explained.
He said the grain could be transferred from those Ukrainian trains to the new silos, and then onto European freight cars to “take it to the ocean and take it to the other side of the world.” “It’s taking time, though,” she noted.
Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday that European countries were studying the possibility of providing temporary silos to “preserve the harvest and ensure future supply of grain to world markets”, but gave no further details.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols. Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)