Sierra Leone plans to strengthen ties with Moscow through the importation of goods, including seeds, according to Foreign Minister Timothy Kabba FILE PHOTO. People collect bags of fertilizer in Lilongwe, Malawi. © AP Photo/Gregory Gondwe

Sierra Leone is in negotiations with Russia on the import of fertilizers and seeks to enhance cooperation in this area, Timothy Kabba, the foreign minister of the West African nation, told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Wednesday.

“We have begun discussions with our Russian counter-partners and intend to deepen these relations,” Kabba told RIA Novosti.

The minister also reportedly announced plans to visit Moscow at the end of 2023 for a “good discussion” on the importation of Russian fertilizers, technologies, and seeds into Sierra Leone when he spoke to the outlet at the UN General Assembly in New York.

According to recent statistics published on the Russia-Africa Summit website, Moscow holds approximately 10% of the African market for mineral fertilizers. Russia has also more than doubled its mineral fertilizer shipments to African countries over the last five years, reaching 1.6 million tonnes in 2022, according to the report.

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Andrey Guryev, the president of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association (RFPA), stated in August at the second Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg that the country’s mineral fertilizer producers are prepared to double their shipments to African countries within the next five years.

In March, Russian chemicals company Uralchem-Uralkali donated 20,000 tonnes of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilizer to Malawi to avert a looming hunger crisis in the landlocked country.

Last month, African leaders urged the UN to intervene to free more than 200,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stranded at European Union seaports due to sanctions, permitting immediate and free delivery to African countries.

The Sierra Leonean ambassador to Moscow, Mohamed Yongawo, has previously told RIA Novosti that, while Freetown is interested in receiving Russian fertilizers, it is not insisting on them being provided for free.