Germany calls for the fight against the hunger crisis
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is having an impact on world agricultural markets: significant grain deliveries are missing in some parts of the world. The federal government is pressing for international support.
Before the G7 summit in Elmau, the federal government warned that the global hunger crisis would deepen and called for a determined fight for food security.
“It is a hunger crisis that is hanging over us like a life-threatening wave,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told an international conference in Berlin on Friday. Around 345 million people are at risk of food shortages due to drought and crop failures caused by climate change and as a result of the corona pandemic. “But only Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine turned a wave into a tsunami,” said the green politician.
Due to the lack of grain exports from Ukraine, a shortage of supplies is expected in some countries, for example in Africa and Asia. Lower volumes have pushed up prices on world markets. There are international efforts to create alternative transport routes for Ukraine’s exports in view of the Russian blockade of seaports on the Black Sea. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had made it clear that the message of this Sunday’s G7 summit in Elmau should be that the world’s democracies are united in the fight against hunger.
Baerbock and his American colleague Antony Blinken have made it clear that they want to do more to combat the hunger crisis. “Our message as G7 is clear: We will not allow Russia’s war of aggression to plunge the world into hunger. We act together,” Baerbock said in a meeting with Blinken on Friday. He thanked Germany for taking the lead on this issue. “The only reason for this now is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s blockade of wheat and other food products to be exported from Ukraine,” he said.
They denied the “disinformation”
At a meeting in Berlin, the foreign ministers of the G7 countries rejected Russia’s claim that sanctions against Russia were the reason for blocking wheat deliveries. This is “disinformation,” he said. “All G7 sanctions provide exceptions to allow Russian food and agricultural products to enter world markets.”
Baerbock criticized: “Russia deliberately uses starvation as a weapon of war and makes the whole world hostage.” He also called for more financial support for international famine relief. “More than 44 billion euros will be needed this year, which is only half funded.” According to Baerbock, around 50 delegations agreed to attend the international conference at short notice.
Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) spoke in favor of creating permanent alternative routes for Ukraine’s grain exports. This would also ensure that after the end of the war it would not be possible to blackmail them. As long as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in power, it must be assumed that the Black Sea is not a safe route. It would also be a signal to calm world markets if large quantities could be transported safely. However, capacities on alternative routes are limited and expensive.
Özdemir: “Don’t let Putin intimidate you”
Özdemir spoke of Putin’s “multidimensional war”. He wants to defeat Ukraine militarily, wage a war of hunger against the global South, and wage an energy war against the EU. Therefore, the message is also: “We will not be intimidated by Putin. Now it’s about showing what we’re made of.”
Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) 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. “As always, it is the poorest who suffer the most.” The federal government will spend a total of around four billion euros this year to fight hunger around the world.
It’s also about avoiding the next food crisis and the one after that, Schulze explained. More cultivation of more climate-adapted varieties, such as millet, in developing countries, more on-site storage capacity and more regional trade are needed.
The G7 group of major industrialized countries includes the US, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and Germany. Germany currently chairs and hosts the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria from Sunday to Tuesday.