How Russian Targeting of Ukrainian Agriculture Will Effect the Worlds Food Supply
900 million people around the world are facing food insecurity according to the USDA and that number is expected to grow significantly as Russia continues to target shipping and agriculture in Ukraine.
“Russia is using food as what we call a ‘quiet weapon.’”
Iowa senator Joni Ernst says Russia has effectively shut down the Black Sea for exports.
“No carriers will take the risk of shipping in an active war where multiple cargo ships have been damaged by missiles.”
Ernst was joined by Ukrainian advocate Dr. Hanna Hopko who called on NATO partners to do more to clear the Black Sea of mines and blockades.
“Unblocking of Ukrainian seaports is a key for world food security. Action needs to be taken urgently. International pressure on Russia. More sanctions, tougher sanctions, escalation of the problem by major food buyers like China, Turkey, Egypt. We need embargos and blockades of Russian sea exports.”
Before the war, Ukraine produced enough food to feed roughly 400 million people around the world. But production is expected to be cut by 40-45% without access to critical inputs according to Daria Kaleniuk, Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.
“If we do not get fuel in the coming days, Ukrainian farmers won’t have anything to get fuel to tractors and plant Ukrainian fields. Fuel reserves were deliberately hit by Russians.”
Ernst is calling on the Biden administration to unleash American energy production to lower US fuel prices and supply our allies.
“We have biodiesel, we have ethanol. We can provide and backfill for the loss of Russian oil imports today. All the administration has to do is say let’s do it.”
Kaleniuk also described the stark impact of wars on Ukrainian farmers.
“Ukrainian farmers are not planting, but harvesting missiles from the fields.”
Hopko added, “The world will face starvation, hunger riots, refugee immigration without the Ukrainian food supply and there is no sufficient alternative to cover this.”
American agriculture is hoping to be part of the solution to cover the gap in global grain supplies. But with only 30% of the U.S. wheat crop in good condition and record-high input costs cutting into the bottom line, Kansas Senator Roger Marshall says food insecurity is likely to grow.
“Our ports are already maxed out. It’s a bad report for the wheat crop, we can’t make up for 15% of the world’s exports in Kansas. American farmers are incredible. I know they will do everything that can do, but with input prices, it will be next to impossible and that’s why I keep describing this perfect storm.”
And senator Ernst agrees.
“The best way to address the food security crisis is for Ukraine to win the war that is an absolute must.”