Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that the United States will provide $ 215 million in emergency assistance to alleviate global food shortages exacerbated by the Ukrainian war and the consequent supply chain disruptions.
“Today, given the urgency of the crisis, we are announcing an additional $ 215 million in new emergency food aid, and we will do more. Food Security at UN Headquarters. In the minister, Mr Brinken hopes that Congress will soon approve about $ 5.5 billion for additional funding for humanitarian aid and food security. “
$ 5.5 billion is part of the $ 40 billion taxpayer-funded Ukraine aid bill passed by the House of Representatives on May 10 and the Senate on Monday, and is currently heading to Biden’s desk.
Blinken added that governments and organizations around the world need to combine efforts to convince Russia to allow food and important supplies to leave Ukraine safely.
“Currently, Ukrainian silos have an estimated 22 million tonnes of grain, which, if simply able to leave the country, is a food that could quickly help people in need,” Blinken said. rice field.
Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of agricultural products such as wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), port closures have contributed to global supply shortages, exacerbating food prices, which rose at record rates in March. Up to 159.3 points.
Russia’s aggression “has only significantly exacerbated the dire situation already, and by the end of the year it is predicted that as many as 40 million people will be driven into poverty and food insecurity,” USAID said in a May 18 press release. Said in.
$ 215 million is “emergency food security activities in some countries already facing food insecurity as a result of conflict, drought and other natural disasters, such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Yemen. Is expected to expand. “
According to USAID, the United States has provided nearly $ 2.6 billion in emergency food aid since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict.
In addition to food, Blinken also addressed the issue of global fertilizer shortages. He said Africa is facing a four-fold increase in fertilizer costs. This tendency began at the beginning of the pandemic and was exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
“One way to deal with this is to create incentives for countries to produce more fertilizer, as the United States is doing by investing $ 500 million to increase US production. Learning from the progress of countries such as Ethiopia can also help farmers maximize fertilizer efficiency, “he said.