Together with colleagues from all major groups of the European Parliament I sent the letter below to Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to hear about his concrete plans on how to tackle the looming food crisis in Ukraine and beyond.
Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Brussels, 15 March 2022
Dear Mr. Director-General,
While Putin’s Russia continues its unprovoked and unjustifiable war against Ukraine, global food insecurity escalates in the world. Food prices that were already on the upward trend since the COVID-19 pandemic have reached an all-time high. Unfortunately, we have not seen a clear statement of the Director-General condemning Russian aggression that threatens most vulnerable countries with famine.
As you also emphasized in your recent opinion article, Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of staple commodities such as wheat, barley, maize, and sunflower oil. Russian aggression in Ukraine disrupted not only the supply chain but also agricultural activities and further contributed to exorbitant prices of fertilizers. More than a third of the world’s countries depend on the grain supply from Ukraine and Russia. This warrants a question:
With the food prices record high, what are the FAO’s and UN’s planned concrete steps to prevent the looming world hunger crisis?
In addition to the Russian war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, China is also pushing up food prices by hoarding grains. With the Chinese stockpiles historically high, Beijing is said to hold over half of the globe’s maize, rice and wheat reserves.
What are the FAO’s envisaged steps to dissuade China from stockpiling and thus reduce the high food prices?
Lastly, Russian aggression has compromised not only the security of Ukraine but also caused mass displacement of farmers and destroyed logistical infrastructure on sea and land. It is uncertain whether Ukrainian farmers will be able to prepare land for agricultural activities in the upcoming weeks.
Has FAO had consultations with the Ukrainian Government on how to protect the civilians in Ukraine from impending hunger? With that in mind, what substantial measures has FAO taken so far besides deploying a team of predominantly Ukrainian nationals in western Ukraine?
In this difficult time for the world, averting the unimaginable suffering for hundreds of millions of people is our common goal, which requires coordinated action and a morally firm stance.
Members of the European Parliament:
Viola von Cramon, Greens/EFA, Germany
Petras Auštrevičius, Renew Europe, Lithuania
Luis Garicano, Renew Europe, Spain
Andreas Glück, Renew Europe, Germany
Michal Šimečka, Renew Europe, Slovakia
Dragoş Tudorache, Renew Europe, Romania
Biljana Borzan, S&D, Croatia
Jarosław Kalinowski, EPP, Poland
Martin Buschmann, NA, Germany
Vlad Gheorghe, Renew Europe, Romania
Sara Matthieu, Greens/EFA, Belgium
Andrey Kovatchev, EPP, Bulgaria
Niklas Nienaß, Greens/EFA, Germany
Nikolaj Villumsen, GUE/NGL, Denmark
Marek Paweł Balt, S&D, Poland
Reinhard Bütikofer, Greens/EFA, Germany
Bronis Ropė, Greens/EFA, Lithuania
Krzysztof Hetman, EPP, Poland
Ignazio Corrao, Greens/EFA, Italy
Michaela Šojdrová, EPP, Czech Republic
Sergey Lagodinsky, Greens/EFA, Germany
Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Renew Europe, Slovakia
Martin Hojsík, Renew Europe, Slovakia
Miriam Lexmann, EPP, Slovakia
Liudas Mažylis, EPP, Lithuania
Eric Andrieu, S&D, France
Ernest Urtasun, Greens/EFA, Spain
Anna Cavazzini, Greens/EFA, Germany
We received the following answer from the FAO’s Director-General: