Securing the global food supply is one of the greatest challenges considering the crisis in Ukraine, the COVID-19 lockdown in China and the supply problems generated from both circumstances. Mexico is planning to establish a common front to make food security strategy a priority so producers and consumers can continue business as usual.
The Ukraine-Russia war and China’s COVID-19 restrictions are endangering food supply and safety all around the globe. Producers are concerned about energy prices and the lack of fertilizers putting future harvests and trade at risk, while consumers around the world are concerned about the resulting increase in food prices. “Prices of basic foods, such as wheat and vegetable oils, have soared, imposing extraordinary costs on global consumers, particularly the poorest. Due to the simultaneous increase in the price of energy and food, the purchasing power of consumers and vulnerable countries has decreased even more,” stated QU Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A global food crisis of a magnitude similar to that of 2008 can still be averted if the correct measures are taken, QU said.
Russia and Ukraine together account for almost 30 percent of global wheat exports and the Russian Federation is the largest exporter of fertilizers. A lack of fertilizers and a price increase could lead to a decrease in their use in the coming season and possibly beyond, with the real prospect of a fall in food productivity further driving prices higher. To reduce the potential effects of this crisis, the quick application of detailed soil maps will be essential to help the most vulnerable countries to use their fertilizers efficiently, said FAO.
The organization also recommends the implementation of improved biosecurity measures in countries neighboring Ukraine to minimize the spread of African swine fever and other animal diseases. Finally, FAO urges countries across the globe to strengthen market transparency and policy dialogue to minimize disruption and ensure the continued functioning and smooth trade flow in food and agricultural products.
Mexico is developing a national plan to ensure food security and mitigate inflation through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) and the National Agricultural Council (CAN). “Faced with issues such as rising costs in the sector, it becomes more important to work on a national proposal to lower inflation and increase the production of grains and oilseeds,” said the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos Arámbula.
The public to the private sectors are taking actions to prevent production prices from rising to the point where they lead producers to halt operations. Mexican producers are further burdened by a continued drought, leading to the bombardment of clouds to promote rain and help small agricultural and livestock units. The country is also increasing its productive capacity for corn, oilseed and forage grain crops to reduce dependence on foreign countries.