Ministers will discuss how the conflict in Europe is affecting global food security
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s federal minister of agriculture will participate in an emergency meeting with her G7 counterparts.
Marie-Claude Bibeau and other officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States will meet Friday morning to discuss how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is affecting global food supply.
Canada is among the top five donors to the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations’s food assistance branch.
But the situation in Europe has reached a point where Canada and other top donors need to do more, said Arif Husain, the WFP’s chief economist.
“This is as bad as it gets,” he said, the Canadian Press reported. “It is necessary for the large producers like Canada, like Australia, to please open your hearts and provide wheat to the aid agencies. In Yemen alone, five million people are literally a step away from famine.”
Ukraine and Russia account for about 30 per cent of global wheat trade.
Ukraine is a major supplier of corn, wheat and other commodities to countries like Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey and Egypt.
But because of the ongoing conflict with Russia, ag exports are limited.
The Ukrainian government announced exports of rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, salt, sugar, and beef are suspended. And any exports of wheat, corn, sunflower oil, poultry and eggs would require licenses, Interfax Ukraine reported.
Canada wants to do more, Minister Bibeau said.
The question is how.
After experiencing drought in 2021, there isn’t a high volume of wheat available for humanitarian needs.
“The global supply chain for wheat has been significantly impacted by this conflict,” she told Farms.com in an emailed statement. “While Canada, as a leading global agri-food exporter of many key products, is working with its allies on how it can assist efforts, Canadian wheat production was significantly reduced due to last year’s drought and there is not a significant amount of wheat uncommitted and available to the market until the next harvest. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely.”