A harvester collects wheat in Semikarakorsky District of Rostov-on-Don region near Semikarakorsk, Southern Russia, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of wheat, accounting for almost a fifth of global shipments. It is expected to have one of its best ever crop seasons this year. Agriculture is among the most important industries in Russia, accounting for around 4% of its GDP, according to the World Bank. (AP Photo)InternationalIndiaAfricaANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkiye expects the parties to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is set to expire on March 18, to make a positive decision on the deal’s extension, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday. “We are looking forward to a positive decision by the parties to extend this deal. This is critical in terms of food security, the parties understand this responsibility,” Akar said in an interview to Turkish media. On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated the need to extend the grain deal during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev. He also emphasized the importance of continuing exporting grain and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia to ensure food security as well as affordable food prices around the world. On July 22, 2022, Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the United Nations reached an agreement to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships with food and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports. In November 2022, the deal was renewed for another 120 days until March 18, unless it is extended once again. Russia has repeatedly criticized the agreement for failing to ensure unimpeded exports of Russian grain and fertilizer amid Western sanctions.