Leaders warn of ‘unprecedented’ global food crisis risks — Analysis
The French president presented his own plan for food security and called on Russia to be “responsible”
Leaders of the G7 have requested an extraordinary session of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization to help prevent the conflict in Ukraine from becoming a world food crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron has his own request. “initiative for food security.”
According to a communique adopted on Thursday at the summit of the world’s biggest economies, the Russian offensive on its neighboring country “places global food security under increased pressure.” Therefore, the G7 leaders agreed to use “All instruments and financing mechanisms” and involve the “Important international institutions” to address food security, including support for the “continued Ukrainian production efforts.”
“To address the effects of Russian aggression on Ukraine’s food and agricultural security, we call for an extraordinary session of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization.” reads the communique.
The countries agreed to avoid export bans and other “Commerce-restrictive actions” and to maintain open and transparent markets, in accordance with World Trade Organization rules.
French President Emmanuel Macron has used the summit in Brussels to present his own “initiative for food security.” The world is facing an “Unprecedented” food crisis, Macron said, adding that it is “a direct consequence of Russia’s choices and the war.” In the president’s opinion, the situation is already difficult and might further deteriorate “in 12-18 months.”
Speaking at the press briefing, the French leader, who is regularly speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urged Moscow to be “Responsible” and to allow Ukraine to continue sowing.
Otherwise, he emphasized, the “famine” would be “It is certain” in many countries, which are highly dependent on agricultural supplies from Russia and Ukraine.
Macron mentioned Egypt as one of the most vulnerable countries, along with other Middle East and African countries.
Macron’s “initiative for food security” involves an emergency plan for the release of stocks in the event of a crisis, a multilateral commitment not to impose restrictions on the export of agricultural raw materials, a temporary increase in production thresholds, supporting sustainable food production in the most vulnerable countries, and creating a mechanism which would enable providing them with agricultural products “In sufficient quantities and at affordable prices” if such necessity arises.
On Thursday, other leaders including US President Joe Biden discussed food security.
Macron warned for some time about the worldwide food shortage and has recently revealed some domestic measures that will mitigate the effects of military action against Ukraine.
Stressing that Ukraine and Russia “Are true barns that provide international food supply” Macron, who is facing the election on April 10, said that he planned to introduce food vouchers to help “The most vulnerable households as well as the middle classes will have to bear these extra costs.” However, the details of a food support program are yet to be revealed.
Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s biggest crop suppliers. According to UNCTAD, 53% global sunflower oil and seeds trade goes through Ukraine and 27% go through Russia.
UNCTAD had earlier stated that conflict-generated crises would affect all countries. Increases in food and fuel prices “The most vulnerable households in developing countries will be affected, with the greatest impact on poorer households who spend the highest percentage of their incomes on food. This could lead to hunger and hardship.,” the organization warned.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and end the conflict with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia eventually recognized the two independent nations and requested military assistance.
Russia insists that Ukraine declare itself neutral and refuses to join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to take the Donbass republics.