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G7: FAO puts forward proposals to address current and future food shortages

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                            The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called on G7 nations to help anticipate future food shortages as war in Ukraine reduces supplies, raises prices at record levels and threatens the already vulnerable nations of Africa and Asia.



“We need to actively identify ways to offset potential future gaps in global markets, working together to foster sustainable productivity gains where possible,” Director-General Qu Dongyu said at the G7 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Stuttgart, Germany.



Qu was invited by the German presidency of the G7 to discuss the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Europe on global food security.



Already in 2021, an estimated 193 million people were acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance, nearly 40 million more than in 2020.
G7: FAO puts forward proposals to address current and future food shortages

The head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called on G7 nations to help anticipate future food shortages as war in Ukraine reduces supplies, raises prices at record levels and threatens the already vulnerable nations of Africa and Asia.

“We need to actively identify ways to offset potential future gaps in global markets, working together to foster sustainable productivity gains where possible,” Director-General Qu Dongyu said at the G7 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Stuttgart, Germany.

Qu was invited by the German presidency of the G7 to discuss the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Europe on global food security.

Already in 2021, an estimated 193 million people were acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance, nearly 40 million more than in 2020.

“It is in this dramatic context that we now face the war in Ukraine,” Qu said.

Russia and Ukraine are major players in global commodity markets, and the uncertainty surrounding the conflict has led to price spikes, particularly for wheat, corn and oilseeds, as well as fertilizers. These increases come on top of already high prices driven by robust demand and high input costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, the FAO Food Price Index reached its highest level (160 points) since its creation in 1990 and only slightly decreased in April.

Wheat export forecasts for both Russia and Ukraine have been revised downwards since the beginning of the war. And even though other market players, such as India and the European Union, are boosting their offers, supply remains tight and prices are likely to remain elevated in the coming months, Qu said.

Countries that rely heavily on wheat imports include Egypt and Turkey, but also several sub-Saharan countries such as the Congo, Eritrea, Madagascar, Namibia, Somalia, and Tanzania. Meanwhile, countries that rely heavily on imported fertilizers from Russia include key grains and high-value commodity exporters such as Argentina, Bangladesh and Brazil.

offering solutions

According to the FAO, market transparency is crucial. That is why FAO welcomes all efforts to strengthen and expand the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), an inter-agency platform designed to improve food market transparency launched in 2011 by G20 agriculture ministers after increases world food prices in 2007/08 and 2010. AMIS is hosted by FAO.

FAO has also proposed a Global Food Import Financing Facility to help nations cope with rising food prices. The mechanism, which is strictly needs-based and limited to low- and lower-middle-income, net food-importing countries and selected beneficiaries of the International Development Association, could benefit nearly 1.8 billion people in the 61 most vulnerable countries. of the world.

The facility has been designed to include smart conditionality to act as an automatic stabilizer for future financing. Eligible countries will commit to additional investments in agriculture, thus reducing future import needs.

In his address to the G7 meeting, the FAO Director-General also urged governments to “refrain from imposing export restrictions, which can exacerbate food price increases and undermine confidence in world markets.” .

Instead, we need to “ensure that any measures taken to address the crisis do not exacerbate food insecurity and instead increase resilience,” Qu said.

The meeting in Stuttgart was hosted by the German Agriculture Minister, Cem Özdemir, and featured a guest statement from his Ukrainian colleague, Mykola Solsky.

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