UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is talking to several countries to overcome food shortages. The war in Ukraine significantly aggravated the situation.
The number of people at risk of severe food shortages has doubled in the past two years, and now stands at 276 million, according to Guterres. There are more than 500,000 starving, a fivefold increase since 2016.
Guterres says he has had “extensive talks” with Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the United States and the European Union to find a solution to the crisis.
– The complex security, economic and financial repercussions require the goodwill of all parties to reach an agreement, he continues.
Ukraine and Russia are among the major exporters of wheat and barley in the world. Together, they accounted for 28 percent of global wheat exports in 2020, according to figures from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
As a result of the war, the ports along the Ukrainian Black Sea coast were closed, and thus food exports to many developing countries were greatly restricted. Guterres said that during his recent visit to the Sahel region of Africa, he met families who had no idea where the next meal would come from.
David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, warned that not opening the ports would be a “declaration of war on global food security” and lead to famine and destabilize many countries, and would require mass migration.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock accuses Russia of using starvation as a weapon.
Russia is not fighting a brutal war with tanks, missiles and bombs only. She said that Russia is fighting a war with another terrible but more precise weapon: starvation.
leading fertilizer manufacturers
In addition, Russia and Belarus are the second and third largest producers of potash or potassium carbonate used in fertilizers, Guterres noted.
“There is no effective solution to the food crisis without the reintegration of food production in Ukraine as well as food and fertilizers produced by Russia and Belarus, despite the war,” he said.
The World Bank announced Wednesday evening that it has increased its support for projects to solve the global food crisis in the wake of the war in Ukraine by $12 billion.
The money will finance projects over the next 15 months that will increase food and fertilizer production, increase trade revenues, and support vulnerable families and producers.
In the past, the World Bank has provided $18.7 billion for similar projects in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Asia.
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