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UN warns of potential global food crisis due to Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Stockholm, June 2 (Ajit Weekly News) The Russia-Ukraine conflict could lead to a global food crisis that will hit developing countries the hardest, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in Stockholm.

Guterres met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Wednesday to discuss the security situation in Europe, recovery from the pandemic and the green transition, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is creating suffering and devastation, and “must end now,” Guterres said at a press conference after the meeting.

He also urged for swift decisions to counter the food crisis that could arise from the conflict, putting developing countries most at risk.

The situation is fueling “a three-dimensional global crisis for food, energy and finance” that is affecting “the most vulnerable populations, countries and economies,” he warned.

A “perfect storm” is threatening to destroy the economies of many developing countries,” he added.

The food crisis cannot be resolved effectively unless Russia’s manure and food production, and Ukraine’s food production can reach world markets again, Guterres said.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest and fifth-largest wheat exporters, respectively. Together, they provide 19 per cent of the world’s barley supply, 14 per cent of wheat and four per cent of maize, making up more than one-third of global cereal exports.

In Ukraine, which is known as the breadbasket of Europe, the conflict has left unharvested wheat that was planted months ago, while maize and sunflowers sown when the conflict broke out were left unfertilised.

It is estimated that Ukraine’s grain production may fall by more than 50 per cent in the current season.

Moreover, Russia is the leading producer of fertilisers, accounting for 13 per cent of global production.

Restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports due to the US’ sanctions have led to a surge in global fertiliser prices.

This has forced farmers in Brazil, the US and other major agricultural countries to reduce their use of fertilisers, which could affect future harvests.

–Ajit Weekly News


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