Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently told his Indonesian counterpart Joko "Jokowi" Widodo that Ukraine planned on resuming its grain exports to the Southeast Asian country.
Zelenskyy shared Thursday some details about his phone call with Jokowi on the social media platform X. Global food security was on the agenda, with Ukraine saying that it would export its grains to Indonesia again.
"I spoke with Indonesian President @jokowi about the Peace Formula, global food security, and the Middle East," Zelenskyy wrote on social media platform X.
"Ukraine, as a global food security guarantor, continues to export grain via alternative routes, despite Russian efforts to impede freedom of navigation in the Black Sea. We are ready to resume exports to Indonesia," Zelenskyy said.
Kyiv also tried to nudge Jakarta into joining the so-called "Grain from Ukraine" initiative.
As the name suggests, the initiative sees the delivery of Ukrainian grain to countries in Africa and Asia that are facing malnutrition and extreme hunger. The program involves partner countries and private-sector donors. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry in June, a number of countries –including the US, Canada, and the UK– have announced pledges for about $200 million to support the initiative.
"I invited Indonesia to join our "Grain From Ukraine" humanitarian program," Zelenskyy said, while also inviting Jokowi to attend the relevant summit in November.
Jokowi last met Zelenskyy in person when both leaders attended the G7 Summit in Hiroshima earlier this year. The National Statistics Agency (BPS) reported that Ukraine was Indonesia's largest wheat and meslin supplier in 2020. However, imports from Ukraine dropped sharply in 2022 after Russia launched its full-scale invasion last February.
Russia last year agreed to a UN-backed deal –the Black Sea Grain Initiative–that enabled exports of grains and other agricultural products from three key Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi (Yuzhny). However, the initiative expired after Russia quit the deal in July. This prompted Ukraine to look for alternative routes.