Nutrition: Baerbock calls on the global community to fight hunger

nutrition
Baerbock calls on the global community to fight hunger

Food Safety Conference

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (from left to right), Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir in Berlin. Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

At today’s nutrition conference, the high cost of food is one of the key issues: according to the Federal Minister for Food, the end of price increases is not yet in sight.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on the international community to fight resolutely against the worsening world hunger crisis.

“More than 44 billion euros will be needed this year, which is only half funded,” said the Greens politician in Berlin.

The situation is very dramatic. 345 million women, children and men around the world are threatened by food shortages. “It’s a hunger crisis looming over us like a life-threatening wave.” Some of the reasons for this are not new and can be found, for example, in climate change and the consequences of the corona pandemic. “But only Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine turned a wave into a tsunami,” Baerbock said. “Russia is deliberately using starvation as a weapon of war and is holding the whole world hostage.”

The Foreign Minister, together with Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens), spoke at an international conference on food security in Berlin. Around 50 delegations agreed to this on short notice, and around 40 ministers had come, Baerbock said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also traveled to Berlin.

Schulze explained that around 400 million people around the world would normally receive food from Ukraine. In many countries, these deliveries did not materialize, and even more countries suffered from high world market prices as a result of the war in Ukraine. “As always, it is the poorest who suffer the most.” Often the only thing left for these people is hunger. The federal government will spend a total of around four billion euros this year to fight hunger around the world.

It is also about avoiding the next food crisis and the next one with more sustainability. Schulze stressed that more cultivation of more climate-adapted varieties, such as millet, in developing countries, more on-site storage capacity and more regional trade are needed.

Özdemir spoke of a “multidimensional war” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. They want to militarily defeat Ukraine, wage a war of hunger against the global South, and wage an energy war against the European Union. “That is why today’s message is: We will not be intimidated by Putin. Now it’s about showing what we’re made of.”

Özdemir hopes that food prices will continue to rise and therefore advocates relief for poor households in this country. The green politician told the “Tagesspiegel” that the peak in food prices had probably not yet been reached. Many manufacturers now have to spend more money on energy and pass this on to customers. He believes that it would be good to eliminate VAT on fruits and vegetables, as social organizations claim, “because consumer spending plays an important role, especially for the poor, and because that would also contribute to a healthy diet,” he said. But he fears that there is currently no majority in the governing coalition with the SPD and FDP.

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