The UN urges Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports

GENEVA: The United Nations (UN) has urged Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports as the two countries produce 30 percent of supplies wheat global.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the global food crisis, malnutrition and famine would continue for years if such exports were not allowed.

Clearly, war poses a threat and puts millions of people on the brink of food security hazards.

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“There is no effective solution to the food crisis without reintegrating Ukrainian food production.

“Russia must allow the safe export of cereals stored in Ukrainian ports,” he said during a meeting on UN global food security in New York.

The UN issued the warning as the World Bank announced an additional allocation of US $ 12 billion (RM53 billion) to mitigate the adverse effects of the crisis.

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The funding will help increase fertilizer production, facilitate greater trade as well as support weak grain -producing households and countries.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine as well as international economic sanctions on Russia caused disruptions in the supply of fertilizers, wheat and other commodities from both countries, forcing food and fuel prices to rise especially in developing countries.

Food uncertainty is growing as a result of global warming, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulting in a critical shortage of grain and fertilizer.

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Previously, Ukraine was the world’s bread supplier exporting 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce a month through its ports, with 12 per cent being wheat requirements, 15 per cent corn and half of the global sunflower oil supply.

However, supplies could only pass through congested and inefficient land routes after the port of Odessa, Chornomorsk was closed by Russian warships.

Within two years, the world’s population threatened by the food crisis doubled from 135 million to 276 million people.

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More than half a million people are now living in hunger, an increase of more than 500 percent since 2016.-AFP

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