EU PERSPECTIVES ON FOOD SECURITY: A CONVERSATION WITH EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR AGRICULTURE JANUSZ WOJCIECHOWSKI - This conversation took place at the approach of the one-year mark of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the horrific toll Russia’s brutality has taken on Ukrainian lives, the invasion has destroyed agricultural land, constrained food exports from Ukraine, often referred to as Europe’s breadbasket, and exacerbated global food insecurity.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain producers – according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2021 it was responsible for nearly 15% of global exports of wheat, maize, and barley, and it exported 6% of all food calories globally.
Regions in the Middle East and North and Eastern Africa are highly dependent on Ukrainian exports: the UN FAO estimates that the number of people facing chronic hunger globally will increase by seven to thirteen million through 2023 due to the supply-chain disruptions caused by the war.
In an effort to mitigate this hunger crisis and preserve a critical part of Ukraine’s economy, the European Union established EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes to facilitate the transport of Ukrainian agricultural products to markets. This initiative preceded the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative which aims to facilitate food and agriculture exports from Ukraine.
This conversation focused on the impact of Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine on global food security. The Commissioner discussed the EU’s response to the global food crisis, including the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes; ongoing transatlantic cooperation in this area; and EU support for Ukraine more generally.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 02/22/23