Zimbabwe Receives Part of 25,000 Ton Wheat ‘Donation’ From Russia

What You Need to Know:

Zimbabwe has received most of a 25,000 metric ton shipment of wheat, as promised by Russia during the second Russia-Africa Summit held in July of last year.

An additional 10,000 tons of fertilizer was shipped alongside the wheat through Mozambique, with it expected to arrive in Zimbabwe in the coming days. 

The donation, announced by Russia during the 2023 summit is most likely part of its influence operations in the continent, as wheat shipments have also been promised to the ‘Russia-friendly’ regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Eritrea.

The wheat deal came as a result of Russia pulling out of the Black Sea Grain deal, which enabled Ukraine to continue exporting grain through maritime passageways despite a wartime blockade. Through the deal, Ukraine was able to export nearly 33 million tons of grain to receiving nations, a far greater amount than the 200,000 tons promised by Russia to the aforementioned nations. 

The grain was promised to ease the effect of El Nino, which has caused droughts in many African nations, particularly Zimbabwe, which has received aid from the World Food Programme to alleviate food insecurity in the nations south, where millions are in critical need of humanitarian food assistance. 

When asked about the wheat being sent to Zimbabwe, Dmitry Patrushev, Russia’s Agriculture Minister stated,“this was, in fact, the first time that such a large-scale humanitarian action had been carried out by our country.”

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture has stated, “Everything is in order, we are very happy with what we are seeing today, and everything seems like it is going very well. We are very grateful to the Russian Federation for donating such a substantial amount of wheat stock. The donation was 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat so we are almost there but we are expecting a few more trucks to come in from Beira and once we receive the wheat we are expecting [President] Mnangagwa to do the official handover [to the Ministry].

So, What Now?:

The Russian donation of wheat to nations friendly to Moscow signals its intent to further spread its influence in the continent. Aside from these donations, Russia also maintains a shadow presence in many of these countries through the use of the infamous Wagner Group. Additionally, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) has stated Wagner’s ‘footprints’ in Zimbabwe are seen through the use of illicit actors in the country’s gold sector. 

Before the death of Wagner Group Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner provided security to African government’s in return for gold and mining concessions, which enabled Russia to circumvent Western sanctions. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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