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Food shortage: Fact or fiction?

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At a summit in Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron presented his own “initiative for food security.” Macron added that as “a direct consequence of Russia’s choices and the war,” that the world could face an “unprecedented” food crisis. In his opinion, the situation is already difficult and could deteriorate further in “12-18 months.” 

The French leader regularly communicates with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has urged Moscow to be “responsible” and allow Ukraine to continue sowing. He emphasised that “famine” would be “certainly inevitable” in many countries, which depend on agricultural supplies from both Russia and Ukraine. 

Macron mentioned Egypt as particularly at risk as well as African nations and the Middle East. He has devised an “initiative for food security”, which involves a contingency plan for the release of sticks in the event of a major crisis, a multilateral commitment not to impose sanctions on exports of agricultural supplies, supporting sustainable farming practices in 

vulnerable countries, and ensuring agricultural products would be available “in sufficient quantity and at reasonable prices,” if such necessity arises. 

Macron has been warning of potential global food shortages for a while and recently announced domestic measures to counteract the effects of the military actions in Ukraine. Emphasising that both Ukraine and Russia “are true barns for the international food supply,” and that he was planning to introduce food vouchers in France to assist the “most modest households and the middle classes to face these additional costs.” However, he did not offer any specifics of the program and more details are yet to be released.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade (UNCTAD) and Development, Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s biggest crop suppliers representing 53% of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds as well as producing 27% of the world’s wheat. UNCTAD has stated that they believe all countries would inevitably be impacted by the conflict generated crisis.

They went onto warn that this “will affect the most vulnerable in developing countries, putting pressure on the poorest households which spend the highest share of their income on food, resulting in hardship and hunger.”

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