The FAO Food Price Index, a barometer of prices for food commodities, rocketed to a record high immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine and disrupted food supply chains. Now it is down for the third month in a row, with large global harvests at hand, but Ukraine is a new entrant on the list of nations needing food aid, said the UN agency.
Jeff O’Connor gave President Biden a firsthand introduction to double-cropping on his 800-acre Illinois farm on Wednesday and agreed with the president that America can help fill the gap in global food supplies created by the war in Ukraine. “We have the ability to raise two crops in one growing season while simultaneously providing conservation benefits,” said O’Connor. “The farming community stands ready to maximize production, which we do so well, in this time of world need.”
President Biden will announce three steps to encourage American farmers “to boost production, lower food prices, and feed the world” during a visit to a family farm in northern Illinois on Wednesday afternoon, said the White House. Action by the USDA would be a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to high inflation at home.
NASA climatologist Cynthia Rosenzweig, one of the first scientists to document the impact of climate change on food production, is this year’s winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize, said the Food Prize foundation on Thursday. “Dr. Rosenzweig has brought powerful computational tools into practical application in agriculture and food systems,” said foundation president Barbara Stinson during an announcement ceremony at the State Department.
The world should create a fund of up to $25 billion to help poor nations deal with the surge in food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday. The FAO estimates that an additional 13 million people will face hunger in the near term because of warfare in the Black Sea region, ordinarily a major source of wheat and corn on the world market.
The United States stands ready to provide food aid overseas if it is needed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a letter to grain merchandisers. At the same time, the letter closed the door to suggestions for the emergency planting of crops on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve, saying it would be impractical.
American farmers say they will plant more soybeans — a record 91 million acres — and less corn and spring wheat despite tight global wheat supplies that have been compounded by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s largest wheat exporters, and Ukraine is a leading corn supplier.
Global food shortages are a real possibility as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden told reporters while meeting with allies in Brussels on Thursday. Western leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, joined Biden in saying they would step up their hunger-relief programs and encourage their farmers to grow more food.
Responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission approved a $550 million aid package for its farmers on Wednesday and said they could grow food and feed crops on fallowed land without losing any of their so-called greening payments.
Ukrainian farmers are woefully short of fuel ahead of the spring planting season and have lost around 10 percent of their land “to military effects,” such as bombing, said Dzoba Taras, the country’s deputy agriculture minister, during a webinar.
Up to 13 million people around the world could be pushed into hunger because of the spike in food prices and disruptions in supplies that result from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday. The global hunger rate of 9.9 percent was already the highest in 13 years, due to the pandemic.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will slash wheat exports from the countries by a combined 12 percent, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday in an initial assessment of the short-term impact of the war. Nations from Europe to Asia and Africa will import somewhat less wheat in coming months in the face of higher prices and reduced supplies from the Black Sea region, it said.
The USDA is not considering suggestions that it open the land-idling Conservation Reserve for cropping this year to stabilize grain supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said press secretary Kate Waters on Thursday.
If the Biden administration wants to boost U.S. grain production in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it should open the 22 million-acre Conservation Reserve for crop production this year, said a University of Illinois economist on Wednesday. Grain prices have soared on the possibility of Ukraine and Russia, major exporters of wheat and corn, being knocked out of the world market for months.
Global food supplies were put in jeopardy both directly and indirectly by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said two analysts at the IFPRI think tank on Thursday. The war will constrict grain supplies in the short term, and it would disrupt the flow of fertilizer needed for crop production in many countries.
If governments encourage climate-smart farming, they would see an increase in agricultural productivity and a sizable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture, said a report by the World Bank and the IFPRI think tank on Wednesday. The report advocates a "repurposing" of agriculture policies and subsidies.
Sharply lower prices for vegetable oils, down nearly 10 percent in a month, contributed to the first decline in the Food Price Index since last May, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Thursday. The index fell by 2.5 percent in June, although it was still about one-third higher than a year ago.
After increasing for 12 months in a row during the pandemic, international food prices are the highest they've been since September 2011, said the monthly Food Price Index, released on Thursday. The index surged 4.8 percent in May, its largest monthly increase in nearly 11 years.