About 50 million people in Brazil are food insecure. The lack of public policies makes the country, one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, unable to provide food for the entire population
conflict between Russia And Ukraine It goes beyond the territory of Eastern Europe, but at first it is not a question of a the third World War, but exacerbated a problem that already existed in the world: food insecurity. According to the latest report from the Global Network Against Food Crises, from 2020 to 2021 there has been a 40% increase in the number of people suffering from acute hunger, which represents about 200 million people who do not have physical, social and economic access to resources and materials Food that meets nutritional needs. Russia and Ukraine are two countries with a strong presence in the agricultural sector – wheat alone accounts for 30% of world exports, which is equivalent to 210 million tons. The greater escalation of the conflict and the lack of an end in sight have already had global effects that have led to higher food prices and a lower percentage of people with access to it. In late March, the Executive Director of the World Food Program David Beasley warned that “the war in Ukraine will have a terrible impact on the millions of starving people around the world. It will mean an explosion in the prices of food, fuel and transportation, as well as lower food for the hungry, And the number of hungry people will increase.”
In Sudan, according to Save the Children’s director of operations, David Wright, by the end of the year 20 million people will be food insecure, nearly half of the country’s 45 million people. The United Nations He has already warned that one in three Sudanese needs food aid. In the PeruIn the Andean countries, cafeterias are struggling to feed some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations, cutting back on protein as food prices soar. In Brazil, according to the United Nations, 49.6 million people are moderately food insecure and 7.5 million are in a difficult situation. Food Systems Policy Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Latin america it’s the CaribbeanThe extent of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in global food chains remains unclear, Joao Intini stated, but he draws attention to a concern to consider: international trade and the ability to flow trade transactions that need to continue to operate.
“There are many stocks of basic foodstuffs such as rice, wheat and maize that are distributed in many countries and are the necessary support to maintain international trade and the supply of these countries, and this has a duration, but it is uncertain because it is related to demands,” explains Intini. He adds, “These countries that are important in international trade, especially in the market for wheat, corn, and various oils and oils, can really affect food security in the world if the conflict continues.” According to the deputy director of the Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly 25 million tons of grain are trapped in Ukraine and unable to leave the country due to infrastructure problems and the closure of ports in the Black Sea, including Mariupol. Satellite images analyzed by geolocation company Kayrros show that the yield of Ukraine’s next wheat crop could be 35% lower compared to 2021 due to the Russian invasion that severely affected the ongoing planting season, forcing farmers to work under bombs, struggling to get on fuel. According to Kyros, at the moment, Ukraine will have the capacity to produce 21 million tons of wheat in 2022, which is 12 million tons less than in 2021. For the average of the past five years, the crop yield will be 23% lower . ESPM Professor of International Relations, Demetrius Cesario Pereira, complements the FAO representative’s speech by informing him that since Russia and Ukraine are major agricultural producers, the effects of the war should have a global impact. It sums up: “This could lead to food shortages in the world that could affect not only food and fertilizer importers, but also other countries, because this export could be redirected and could affect the whole world.”
Price hikes directly affect the reality of the poorest countries. The grain lock in Ukraine is one factor responsible for the rally, which hit a record high in March due to supply uncertainty. In April, there was a decline, but prices remained at a historically high level. Demetrius explains that the first effects will be seen in countries that do direct imports from both Russia and Ukraine, but “which can affect the medium and long term on other countries, because the war affects exports, because the products will not leave the farms and the ports will not work, Which causes the entire chain to be affected,” he explains. “This could have an impact not only in the nearest countries but also in the whole world,” he adds. This scenario is expected to mainly affect poorer countries, such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which depend on Russian and Ukrainian grain or fertilizer. In 2021 alone, Somalia got more than 90% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. The Democratic Republic of the Congo received 80% and Madagascar imported 70% of the food.
“Food insecurity is linked to several factors: the availability of food, the cost of food, people’s purchasing power, and public policies that enhance access to food,” Enteni says. Recently, World Bank President David Malpass expressed concern about the potential for a humanitarian crisis, a “collapse of international trade networks and a second collapse in agricultural yields if sufficient fertilizers are not available to maintain current patterns of agricultural production.”, or by relying on countries that are In case of dispute,” as identified by the FAO official. That is why Malpass announced that he is preparing an aid package to help countries cope with the many ongoing crises. “In the coming weeks, I plan to discuss a new package with our board of approximately $170 billion over 15 months to cover the period from April 2022 to June 2023,” he explained. The goal, he added, is “to commit about $50 billion over the next three months.”
Major agricultural powers, including European Union (EU)you weThe Canada and the AustraliaRussia pledged, on Friday, to ensure food security in the world, despite the turmoil caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We are committed to working together to ensure that there is enough food for all, including the poorest, most vulnerable and displaced people,” the 51-member World Trade Organization (WTO) wrote in a statement. The signatories also stress – with an emphasis on the absence of major producers such as Argentina and Brazil – that the emergency measures adopted to deal with the situation must reduce the number of potential distortions and be temporary, specific and proportionate.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) He also expressed his concern and said he was open to emergency funding for countries facing food insecurity. However, despite providing assistance, the IMF also stated that governments need to direct financial support to vulnerable populations most affected by rising energy and food prices and those affected by the war in Eastern Europe. Rising food and energy prices have amplified the risks of social unrest, particularly in low-income countries already facing high levels of debt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 In its latest report on global financial developments, the International Monetary Fund said it is now facing higher borrowing costs amid higher interest rates. “It is absolutely essential that public policies everywhere provide food security for all,” says Vitor Gaspar, director of public finances at the International Monetary Fund. For Joao Intini, the focus should be on School meals and social protection programmes, such as cash transfers. “This contributes to the fact that food security and ensuring adequate food is really the result,” he adds. For him, this is the biggest problem that Brazil faces.
Although the country is a major agricultural producer and has an estimated harvest this year of more than 270 tons of grain, the country has not been able to “guarantee food security for its population,” Intini said. This discrepancy relates to the unbalanced diet. And where is the defect? Specifically, he adds, he prefers to maintain the path of food exports at the expense of food policy and national food security.” This has a direct impact on the cost of agricultural production. “When it rises due to the high cost of fertilizers and fuel, food reaches the supermarkets,” explains the FAO representative. and exhibitions at higher prices.” In this way, it increases the pressure of a part of society that has been greatly affected by the economic downturn since the pandemic.
In addition to thinking about public policies, international relations professor Demetrius Pereira says that to reduce the chances of being affected by food insecurity, countries should invest more in production. He is aware, however, that this is a medium and long-term measure, and warns of the dangers of rising prices due to the law of supply and demand. When you have more demand and less supply, the prices go up. Brazil, for example, is a major agricultural producer, but until Brazilian products can meet the demand, it will not be an immediate thing.” When these problems are found, there is a rise in prices, inflation in food prices and a decrease in the purchasing power of a part of the population. “At the moment, there is no predictable scenario when this high price will end, and we do not have public policies that facilitate or expand consumer purchasing power,” Intini says. Logistics, maritime law and agribusiness attorney Larry Carvalho makes another point: when In the aftermath of the war, the international community considers the rapid resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine ideal. The scenario, however, reinforces the uncertainty about the end of the war. “In the Crimean conflict, several sanctions were imposed and are in force since then. These are sanctions that have been blocking the market.” For him, the lesson for Brazil is: “What is it doing to be less dependent on imported fertilizer?”
Is Ukraine facing another “Holodomor”?
In recent weeks, Ukraine has accused Russian forces of stealing grain stocks from the country and transferring them to Russia – and the Kremlin denies this. This law would increase the risk of starvation and starvation in an area under Russian control. These accusations started public rumors about a possible scenario for “Holodomor” – a Ukrainian word meaning “starvation”. This scenario actually occurred when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin killed four million people in the country between 1931 and 1933. Demetrius Pereira says that it is difficult to describe a scenario perfectly, emphasizing that there is a war of narratives that influence the perception of the international community’s perspective on what is happening Already in Eastern Europe. With the mismatch of information, it is not known whether the stolen grain belongs to the Ukrainian or Russian lands. Accusing someone of stealing from land they don’t own is complicated. What is happening is that they are disputed areas and there are accusations from both sides. It is necessary to verify the information,” warns the teacher.
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