Due to Russia’s exit, the agreement on the unblocking of Ukrainian wheat exports that entered into force a year ago is canceled, but up to now 80% of exports that have passed through the Black Sea have been taken up by the richest countries; the poorest states on the verge of famine such as Somalia and South Sudan received just 3%.

Only by diversifying agricultural production and supporting small producers in developing countries will it be possible to face the ongoing food crisis and save millions of lives.

The agreement that a year ago had led to the unblocking of grain exports from Ukraine to the Black Sea [and then] to the rest of the world has proved completely inadequate to deal with the increase in global hunger, exacerbated by the exponential growth in food and energy prices. The data is shocking: the rich countries have hoarded 80% of the wheat and cereals exported from Ukraine, while the poorest countries affected by the food crisis only got 3%.

This was revealed by a new analysis by Oxfam, released on the occasion of the non-renewal of the deal due to Russia’s exit.

The Ukrainian wheat deal has not stopped the increase in hunger

“The agreement that allowed the resumption of cereal exports from Ukraine certainly helped to contain the surge in food prices – which however increased by 14% globally in 2022 – but it did not represent the solution to global hunger that today it affects at least 122 million more people than in 2019 – said Francesco Petrelli, policy advisor on food safety at Oxfam Italy. “Hundreds of millions of people went hungry before Russia invaded Ukraine and hundreds of millions continue to go hungry today: 783 million in total last year, according to the latest FAO data. Countries like South Sudan and Somalia, which have gotten just 0.2 percent of Ukraine’s grain since the deal went into effect, are on the brink of famine. All of this is simply shameful and describes a world where inequality of access to food continues to grow more and more instead of decreasing”.

We need to radically rethink the current world food system

“To really fight hunger we must immediately and radically rethink the current world food system, even more so today that this agreement is no longer under discussion – adds Petrelli. The current crisis will not be solved by continuing to produce basic necessities in a concentrated and extensive way only in some countries, but by diversifying and investing in small farmers especially in the poorest countries, promoting a sustainable agricultural model also in rich countries and in Europe, [which,] among other [things, is an] essential part of the Green Deal. Only in this way can we emerge from a dependence which in times of ever more frequent shocks generates hunger and famine in the poorest regions of our world”.

Oxfam’s calculations of recipient countries of Ukrainian wheat exports over the past year are based on data from the United Nations Joint Coordination Centre.

The original article can be found here