President Vladimir Putin announced to the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as reiterated to the Council of Heads of State and Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, his intention to make available to developing countries the 300,000 tons of fertilizers currently blocked in ports of the EU.

Moreover, Russia is ready to ship them free of charge.

Fertilizers are crucial for crops, especially phosphate fertilizers as regards poor soils. Nitrogen fertilizers are made from gas. Russia is the second largest fertilizer exporter after China. Only rich states have the means to acquire it; developing countries generally cannot afford it, hence their low agricultural output and their consequent food problems.

According to the United Nations, the disruptions in the global fertilizer market, following Western sanctions against Russia, will mechanically cause a considerable drop in agricultural production in eighteen months. The Secretary General, António Guterres, has been warning since the end of August about the “risk of starvation”. Comparatively, the problem of fertilizers dwarfs the one concerning the deliveries of cereal crops grown in Ukraine.