The EU and the Global Food Crisis

The ongoing war which started back in February 2022 has paved the way towards an ever-growing concern of food scarcity for millions worldwide. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a global food crisis as Russian troops have been ordered to blockade the ports of the Black Sea, bombard Ukrainian grain warehouses and machinery as well as to steal Ukrainian wheat in certain cases.

Ukraine together with Russia are responsible for around 30% of the globe’s maize and wheat supply as well as half of the world’s sunflower oil supply. Hence, the Russian aggression has made the export of such resources almost impossible resulting in food scarcity. Additionally, this has unfortunately resulted in 20 million tonnes of grains bring trapped in Ukraine, a country which is considered to be an international exporter of cereals.  As a result of this food scarcity, the issue of food inflation has become of concern.

The persistent rise of food prices has been ongoing since mid-2020 as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with orders to blockade ports, steal food and bombard warehouses has meant that food availability has reduced in such a way that the production of wheat has decreased by almost 40% and therefore food prices have increased. Due to food scarcity, wheat prices are recorded to be 56.2% higher than their 2021 value.  Moreover, the March 2022 Russian ban of grain and fertiliser exports has also contributed to the global food crisis.

This surge in food prices due to food scarcity is having its effects on the world’s population in particular developing countries. According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, 47 million people may experience acute food insecurity in 2022. In fact, millions of children in developing countries are the most vulnerable due to malnutrition. However, in the European Union, due to the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), food shortages are not expected, however, food inflation may be of concern as it puts pressure on vulnerable and low-income households.

The launch of the Common Agriculture Policy back in 1962 has been a fundamental step towards ensuring a single market for the European Union agricultural food products and having affordable prices amongst others.

Further to the €3 billion package for global food security, €600 million have been mobilised by the European Development Fund. A portion of this money goes directly to heavily affected countries such as African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The EU’s response has been to try and offer aid to get grain out of Ukraine past its border through alternative routes, offer assistance to people who are most vulnerable, aiming to increase food production while respecting the European Green Deal goals of production being sustainable and to also remove any restrictions present on food trade whilst also encouraging multilateralism.

Hence, this means that there are two main global challenges, these being food security and food affordability. Both food security and affordability are main concerns for all Member States of the European Union. The EU together with its 27 Member States are united with Ukraine against the Russian aggression by showing solidarity and aiming to tackle to food security challenges.

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