Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to food and fuel price hikes costing the UN World Food Programme (WFP) an extra US$71 million per month.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley has said that Russia and Ukraine together export about 30 percent of the world’s wheat and 20 per cent of its maize. They also supply three-quarters of the world’s sunflower one-third of its barley.
A report says the Russian military invasion has brought shipments from Ukraine to a halt and paused Russian grain deals, “amidst uncertainty around sanctions”.
It says an estimated 13.5 million tons of wheat and 16 million tons of maize are frozen in the two countries – 23 and 43 percent of their expected exports this year.
Export disruptions in the Black Sea have immediate implications for countries such as Egypt, which heavily rely on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine.
FAO will make cash payments to smallholder farmers
In more than 40 countries with WFP operations, imported cereals such as wheat and maize account for 30 per cent or more of dietary energy.
For 240,000 smallholder farmers in the Ukraine, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization will make unconditional cash payments of $74 per person per month for the three months to May. This is designed to cover immediate basic needs such as food. It should help prevent taking on debt or selling livelihood assets.
Ukraine’s agricultural season is starting now, and the next begins in May, making funding urgently needed, a report says.
The FAO will also provide fodder and feed to safeguard livestock assets during the next three months, and short-cycle vegetable seeds, including potatoes, a key staple of the Ukrainian diet.
It says the focus will be on saving agriculture-based livelihoods and to improve food security.