African Union has warned European leaders that Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports threatens a “catastrophic scenario” of food shortages and price increases.
If present global food supply trends continue, Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who chairs the union, says “the worst is perhaps ahead of us.”
African countries have been heavily struck by the global food crisis because of their “heavy dependence” on Russian and Ukrainian wheat, speaking via video link to the 27 EU leaders meeting in Brussels. He described the situation as “worrying” for a continent with 282 million people who were hungry.
“In the near term, we’d like to see everything done to release available grain reserves and assure transportation and market access, in order to avoid a catastrophic scenario of shortages and widespread high prices.”
Africa used to purchase 44 percent of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia before the war. In Ukraine alone, enough food was grown to feed 400 million people.
Russia’s embargo of Ukrainian ports is contributing to a “perfect storm” for global food supplies, analysts say, as farmers grapple with rising energy and fertilizer costs as well as the lingering effects of coronavirus labor restrictions. Drought is also threatening to cut wheat crops in France, the United States, and India.