The first shipment of Russian fertiliser bound for Africa has left the Netherlands after days of wrangling to ensure it was not snagged by Western sanctions.
Dutch and United Nations officials said some 20,000 tonnes of nitrogen, phosphorus and 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 Programme, and the cargo is part of some 260,000 tonnes of Russian-produced fertiliser stored in ports around Europe.
The shipment – headed to Malawi via Mozambique – is the first of a series of exports destined for countries in Africa in the coming months, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a statement.
It “will serve to alleviate the humanitarian needs and prevent catastrophic crop loss on the African continent, where it is currently planting season,” he said.