Latvia will donate 'Russian' fertilizers to World Food Programme

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Latvia is to hand over tonnes of mineral fertilizers to the World Food Programme in an effort to help countries affected by serious knock-on effects of Russia's war in Ukraine.

"Latvia, in cooperation with the European Commission, has responded to a request from the United Nations to reduce the negative consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine and help address the food crisis in Africa and Latin America," said a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 8.

"In the territory of Latvia, there are more than 200,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers originating in Russia and owned by companies subject to European Union sanctions, which form an insignificant part of Russia’s annual exports of mineral fertilizers. 

"The United Nations World Food Programme has achieved an agreement with the owners of mineral fertilizer cargos on making a donation. On 6 December 2022, the Cabinet decided to support the donation of those mineral fertilizers to the UN World Food Programme with the aim of rendering assistance to the African and Latin American countries," the release said.

"Latvia, in a constructive manner and together with its foreign partners and international organisations, continues providing support for countries affected by the crisis caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine. The food crisis, shortage of mineral fertilisers and rising energy costs are the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Latvia condemns Russia, which seeks to use its artificially created fertilizer shortage toward fueling a disinformation campaign aimed at changing attitudes to Russia’s war in Ukraine," the release concluded.

The World Food Programme has a 'Hunger Map' showing where the most serious shortages in food supply are currently seen. 

Created in 1961, the WFP is the leading humanitarian organization delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. 

In recent months it has been active in Ukraine, for example distributing food assistance in November to 100,000 people in and around Kherson city in areas that had previously been cut off by occuping Russian troops despite multiple attempts from WFP and other humanitarian agencies to secure access.

In October the WFPdelivered food assistance for more than 200,000 people in newly accessible areas in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kherson and Luhansk regions.

For its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. 

In 2021, WFP assisted 128.2 million people in over 120 countries and territories but according to its figures around one in nine people worldwide still does not have enough to eat and up to 811 million people still go to bed hungry every night.

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