Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has a direct impact on food security in Europe, the Middle East and further afield. Since the invasion on 24 February, grain prices worldwide have risen sharply, and with the sowing season approaching, it looks as if the fertile ground in Ukraine will not be sown. In Europe, meanwhile, several voices are calling for a review of the Green Deal, with food security in mind.
The region around the Black Sea is one of the world’s most important regions for the cultivation of grain but also for other agricultural products such as sunflower (oil) and maize. Both Russia and Ukraine are global exporters of these agricultural products. The war that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put exports at risk, and there is also the fear that the rich black soils will not be sown if the conflict is not resolved soon. The direct consequences are rising grain and other prices, indirectly there is the fear of (large) famine in regions already hit by war or natural disasters, but there is also the fear of hunger in Europe.
The European Commission is therefore calling for a review of the Green Deal to ensure that European food security is not jeopardised. For example, it would be possible to suspend the set-aside, which is laid down in the CAP, for at least a year. There are also doubts about the figures put on organic production. However, according to Polish Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski, this could be beneficial for the European population. The Farm-to-Fork strategy also focuses on smaller and more diverse farms, which should be more resilient to outside attacks.
European Commissioner Frans Timmermans takes a different view. According to him, the war in Ukraine should be a reason to speed up the Green Deal. Also according to him, the Green Deal is part of the solution to the food problem, and Europe must get rid of Russian gas and fertiliser even faster.
Later today, the European Commission is due to present a proposal for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Image: EmDee – CC