The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed by Russia and Ukraine in July 2022, was designed to alleviate global food shortages by allowing exports to resume from Ukraine and follow a protected sea transit corridor to the poorest countries in the world.
A recent investigation by the Austrian outlet eXXpress, however, says that didn't happen. Almost half of the Ukrainian wheat and corn exports to the EU ended up feeding pigs in Spain to produce its world-famous jamon.
According to eXXpress, only 15% of the exports ended up in the countries at risk of famine, including 167,000 tons in Ethiopia and 65,000 tons in Sudan. Spain, on the other hand, received 2.9 million tons of wheat and corn from Ukraine.
Grain deal has had a bumpy ride
Just one day after the grain deal was agreed to in July, Russian missile strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa.
In August, the New York Times noted that none of the first grain ships to leave Ukraine were headed for African countries. The first ships mainly carried animal feed and were headed to England, Ireland, Türkiye, Italy and China.
In December, Russia was accused of deliberately holding up inspections to slow down grain shipments in an effort to discredit the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia alleged that grain shipments had not made it to countries that need it most.
According to a report at Big News Network, Russian officials were saying that 6.4 million tons of Ukrainian grain had been exported to the EU, of which 43% was corn and 29% wheat.
Just this week, Russia declared it would be "inappropriate" to extend the Black Sea grain deal unless sanctions affecting its agricultural exports are lifted and other issues are resolved.
The agreement was extended 120 days in November and is up for renewal again in March.