War in Ukraine | Major agricultural powers promise food security

(Geneva) Major agrarian powers including the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia pledged on Friday to ensure the world’s food security despite the shocks caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Posted at 10:04 am

“We are committed to working together to ensure there is enough food for all, including the poorest, most vulnerable and displaced people,” these 51 members of the World Food Organization wrote in a joint statement.

They also pledge to keep agri-food markets “open, predictable and transparent by not imposing unjustified trade-restrictive measures” on agri-food products or key products used in agricultural production.

The undersigned members – who are missing major producers such as Argentina and Brazil – also stress that the emergency measures taken to deal with the situation must cause the least possible distortion, be temporary, targeted and proportionate.

They still demand that the products bought by the World Food Program – on the front line to offset losses in the world agricultural market from gigantic Ukrainian grain or oil production – are free from export restrictions and bans. .

A lesson learned during the pandemic, when the international Covax system – which was supposed to provide vaccines to member countries and particularly the poorest – became its main resource of anti-COVID-19 vaccines through India’s decision to ban the export of these precious bottles. been deprived of vaccines. Global vaccination schedules have been frozen for a long time.

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Russia and Ukraine are two major exporters of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower oil. Russia is also the world’s largest supplier of fertilizers and gas.

Many countries – particularly on the African continent – depend on supplies from Ukraine, which before the war exported 4.5 million tons of agricultural production per month by sea – i.e. 12% wheat, 15% corn and 50% sunflower oil worldwide ( it is the world’s largest producer).

Together, Russia and Ukraine account for 30% of the world wheat trade.

The war and the associated risks to harvests and shipments – the Ukrainian Black Sea ports are blocked – have pushed up the prices of all oilseeds: in two months the price of sunflowers, like rapeseed, rose by 40% on the European market.

In Ukraine, the yield of the next wheat crop is expected to drop by at least 35% from 2021 due to the Russian invasion, according to satellite imagery analyzed by geolocation firm Kayrros in a note published on Friday.

The Russian offensive and economic sanctions imposed on Moscow have disrupted shipments of wheat and other food from the two countries, driving up food and fuel prices, particularly in emerging markets.

This joint statement, urging to keep markets open, comes as protectionist reactions are already emerging.

Thus, in late April, amid rising vegetable oil prices, it was Indonesia – which had not signed the joint text released on Friday – that announced the suspension of its palm oil exports, of which it is the world’s leading producer. The consequence of a new price increase is already burdened by the danger that the war unleashed by Russia will hover over the Ukrainian production of rapeseed or sunflowers, for example.

“The war in Ukraine will have a terrible impact on millions of people at risk of starvation around the world. This will mean an explosion in food, fuel and transportation prices, but also less food for the hungry and more people going hungry,” Director of the World Executive Branch of the World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley, had told the Security Council March.

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