Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian wheat could worsen global food insecurity, says UN crisis coordinator

Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian wheat risks deepening global food shortages and starvation in parts of the world as Europe’s breadbasket is cut off, the UN crisis coordinator for Ukraine has said.

“Whichever way we look – between energy, food and finance – there is a combined crisis,” Amin Awad told CBC-TV. Rosemary Barton live on Sunday.

“The world feels, sees [the effects] and it must be dealt with and dealt with quickly.”

In February, just days after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UN secretary-general appointed Awad, from Sudan, as assistant secretary-general to act as crisis coordinator.

Russia has blocked the country’s ports, preventing any ships from leaving or entering the ports. The waters around these ports have also been littered with mines, which the two countries blame each other for, and further complicate any potential grain export.

Ukraine has attempted to export grain via neighboring countries, such as Poland, en route to the Baltic Sea, but Awad said on Sunday that this is only a fraction of what the country typically exports.

He said shipping remains Ukraine’s only viable option for exporting its roughly 20 million tonnes of grain, which is a problem since the Eastern European country is a global supplier.

Russia and Ukraine account for more than a quarter of world wheat exports. Prices were rising even before the invasion.

WATCH | UN warns of global food crisis and famine as war in Ukraine drags on:

UN warns of global food crisis and famine as war in Ukraine drags on

Rosemary Barton Live speaks with UN Crisis Coordinator Amin Awad about a looming global food crisis as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues. RBL asks him about negotiations to end grain blockades in Ukrainian ports, with the Kremlin accused of using food as a weapon of war.

According to the United Nations, most of the 140 million people suffering from acute hunger live in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chair of the African Union, warned that the continent could face a severe and destabilizing famine if Ukrainian wheat exports do not resume.

Prices around the world are rising. We see in some countries up to 17% inflation. We are seeing food shortages in many parts of the world, especially in the African Sahel, the Horn of Africa and other populated countries that depend on wheat as their staple food.– Amin Awad, UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine

Awad said Rosemary Barton live“Prices around the world are rising. We are seeing in some countries up to 17% inflation. We are seeing food shortages in many parts of the world, especially in the Sahel of Africa, the Horn of the Africa and other countries that depend on wheat as a staple food”.

As Reuters reported, Russia’s foreign minister said it was up to Ukraine to resolve the issue of resuming grain shipments and that the Kremlin denies responsibility for the crisis, blaming Western sanctions instead. .

Some meetings on opening the port have taken place, with Russia and Turkey working on a deal and the United Nations pushing for a maritime corridor overseen by Ankara. As reported to Politico, Ukraine said it was not invited to these meetings.

For some Canadian farmersgrain shortages have driven up wheat prices, but they also face higher input costs for fertilizer, much of which comes from Russia and is subject to hefty tariffs.

“Even with the increased cost of fertilizer, the price of grain has certainly compensated,” said Don Kabbes, general manager of Great Lakes Grain, which markets grain to Ontario farmers.

“The return the grower has is still pretty decent based on the higher price. »

He said the Canadian wheat soon to be harvested will sell for around $12.80 a bushel.

In fact, according to Kabbes, the price of Ontario wheat could be slightly above market value, with a slight drop in demand for the province’s red winter wheat. Despite strong demand elsewhere in the world, he said that hasn’t translated into more exporters in Ontario.

Canadian farms will try to ‘fill that void’

Kabbes said it is not easy for Canada or its farmers to meet demand for wheat that could be exacerbated by shortages created by the war in Ukraine.

Most wheat in southern Ontario is planted in the fall, which means “there isn’t a lot of opportunity to add more acres,” he said.

Yet Canadian farmers will try to grow as much as possible given the circumstances.

“And because commodity prices are high, farmers will try to produce as much as they can using the latest technology and adding whatever they can to try to produce as much per acre as possible, and to try to fill that void and have good returns for their own farm.”

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Post expires at 9:23pm on Thursday June 23rd, 2022