U.S. policymakers are moving early to cushion an expected increase in world hunger, fed by Russia’s war on Ukraine. President Biden acknowledged the problem at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels.
“We did talk about food shortages. And it’s going to be real. The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries, as well, including European countries, and our country, as well, because both Russia and Ukraine have been the ‘breadbasket of Europe’ in terms of wheat, for example.”
Forecasters already pared wheat estimates from the two countries by millions of tons amid already tight global supplies, prompting House Ag Chair David Scott and his panel to call on USDA and USAID to help. “We on the Agriculture Committee will be out front in doing all we can to make sure that we do not have a hunger crisis.”
USDA estimates around 1.2 billion people were food insecure in the last year, a 32 percent increase from 2020, with dire shortages in Afghanistan, the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Former USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber; “These big wheat importing countries are going to pay for wheat. We’re going to draw down world stocks, come out of ‘22/’23 even tighter than when we went in, but it’s going to come out of the pocketbook of somebody. And that’s probably going to be these governments that are going to try to keep bread prices and other things down.”
President Biden is already committing aid. Biden; “We also talked about a significant major U.S. investment, among others, in terms of providing for the need for humanitarian assistance, including food.”
One billion is already committed to Ukraine and another 11 billion over the next five years…