KIEV – To help prevent a global food crisis, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is calling for the worldwide community to take quick action in lifting a Russian blockade for wheat supplies to be exported.
According to Reuters, Zelenskiy made the remarks following a talk with Charles Michel, the European Council President at Odesa. The location is an important Black Sea port used in the exports of agricultural products and was recently where missiles had hit when Russia was targeting tourist spots and buildings.
The Ukraine president stated in a video speech that this was the first time in decades which Odesa has no regular movement of merchant fleets or even routine port operations since World War II.
Although Ukraine is feeling its effects, Zelenskiy said that many countries from different regions of the world are already on the verge of a food crisis due to disruptions to supplies from his country. He added that the scenario may become frightening as time passes.
Based on reports from the International Grains Council, Ukraine was the fourth-largest corn exporter in 2020-2021 and the sixth when it comes to exporting wheat. However, the country has almost 25 million tonnes of grain still stuck as of date.
Zelenskiy highlights on his Telegram channel that immediate actions must be implemented in order to unblock Ukrainian ports for exporting wheat. Despite that, he did not elaborate on the actions that are desired.
To avoid further exacerbating the conflict, NATO nations, with United States included, have ruled out armed intervention.
During his visit to Kyiv, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has voiced out that his country would assist Ukraine to determine the options on exporting the stored grain.
Grained being obstructed
On Twitter, Michel stated that he witnessed the silos full of grain, wheat and corn in Odesa. These food items are ready for export but are blocked due to the Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.
“This badly needed food is stranded due to the Russian war and blockade of Black Sea ports. Causing dramatic consequences for vulnerable countries. We need a global response,” Michel tweeted.
Global food prices has spiked since the Russian blockade on Ukraine, starting from the invasion on February 24 this year.
Antonio Guterres, U.N.’s Secretary General, recently stated that the global food security problem cannot be resolved without Ukraine’s agricultural produce being brought back to the global market.
Ukraine’s agriculture officials reported that the surplus of exportable products has reached 12 million tonnes and agriculture analysts have voiced out concerns on the insufficient storage space for new harvest when the season comes.
Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi recently explained that Ukraine had sown approximately 7 million hectares of spring crops this year, a decrease of around 25%-30% from the previous year.
In April, Ukraine had exported 1.09 million tonnes of grain but the minister highlighted on the reduction of quality compared to last year as well as smaller sowing area for corn.
Moscow claims that its “special operation” in Ukraine is to disarm and denazify its smaller neighbouring country but Ukraine and the West believes this is a false justification for an unwarranted war by Russia.
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