Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Brussels, 21 November 2022

HR/VP blog – Last week, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Türkyie, was extended for three months. Together with the Solidarity Lanes, which the EU has put in place, it is vital to limit food insecurity globally, especially in the most vulnerable countries. Food should never be used as a weapon of war.

Before Russia’s war of aggression, Ukraine was one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural products: the first one for sunflower seed oil, the fourth for maize and the fifth for wheat. And these exports were mainly destined for countries in the Global South: in 2021, 27 % of Ukrainian wheat went to North Africa and 58 % to Asia.

Ukraine used to supply around 45 million tonnes of grain to the global market every year, mostly by ships. Since the start of Russia’s war on 24 February, Russian armed forces have systematically targeted crops, farms, silos and transport infrastructures to limit Ukraine’s capacity to produce and export agricultural products. Russian fleet deliberately blocked safe passage to and from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has contributed substantially to create food insecurity globally and put the livelihoods of millions of people at risk.”

This has contributed substantially to driving up world cereals prices, creating food insecurity globally and putting the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. It has severely affected the activities of the United Nations World Food Programme, which was buying half of its grain stock from Ukraine before the war. I recently visited Somalia and have seen first-hand the severity of the food insecurity caused by the cumulative effects of climate change and the war in Ukraine in that part of the world.