The number of hungry and malnourished on the planet could reach 220 million due to food shortages following the Ukrainian crisis. This was stated by Vice Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), former Italian Minister of Agriculture Maurizio Martina.
Even before the crisis, the number of hungry people in the world was on the rise, he said, reaching almost 200 million in 53 countries in 2021. However, the current situation will only worsen the situation.
“The current conflict will further aggravate the situation with hunger, according to our first estimates, the number of hungry people could increase by another 18 million, although much depends on further developments,” Martina said in an interview published on Saturday in the newspaper Corriere della sera.
The former Minister of Agriculture of Italy noted that six million tons of grain and almost 14 million tons of corn are blocked in Ukrainian ports. If shipments are not released, food insecurity will increase, he explained.
He acknowledged that food exports by alternative sea routes cannot guarantee the transport of large volumes. He said that work is underway to organize the export of Ukrainian grain and corn by trucks to Romania, from where the cargo will then be floated down the Danube.
“It is critical that ports become operational again,” Martina said.
At the same time, he added that no national policy alone can solve the global food problem.
Earlier, on May 27, economist John Ross noted that the United States and its G7 partners deliberately did not say that the food crisis was negatively affected by anti-Russian sanctions. The author of the article concluded that Ukraine’s export restrictions are not the main reason for the deterioration of the situation. A much more powerful reason is the Western sanctions imposed on Russian exports, the expert stressed.
On May 15, in a final statement, the G7 countries accused the Russian side of allegedly hindering Ukraine’s agricultural exports. The G7 shifted the responsibility for rising prices in the world food markets to the Russian Federation.
Moscow does not agree with all such accusations. The press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, in particular, responding to the accusations, said that it was the actions of the West that prevented the charter of ships and the export of grain.
On May 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that the Kyiv authorities do not release dozens of ships with food products from their ports, among which there are ships with wheat. He also drew attention to the fact that the Russian side has repeatedly offered Ukraine to withdraw ships with the necessary goods through humanitarian corridors.