Global action needed to address food crisis

Since this year, affected by geopolitical conflicts, the new pneumonia epidemic, extreme weather and developed economies to adjust monetary policy and other multiple factors, international food prices are high and volatile, the global food industry chain supply chain suffered a serious impact, many low-income countries into “can not afford to buy food” “no food to buy “double dilemma. Among them, the food shortage in some African and Middle Eastern countries is particularly severe, and the livelihoods of their poor and vulnerable people have been hit hard. Recently, famine in many parts of Somalia caused the death of more than 700 children, and flooding in Pakistan caused food prices to soar. The food crisis has triggered a series of events that continue to sound the alarm of food security.

According to the data released by the United Nations World Food Program, there are currently about 345 million people in 82 countries around the world who are suffering from extreme hunger, while the number will be only 135 million in 2019. Arif Hussain, chief economist of the World Food Program, said recently that the global food security problem “is going from bad to worse”.

In the face of global food security, in recent years, the international community has taken action to lead the global fight against hunger and has made important progress. Last year, a total of more than 120 countries and 128.2 million people in 2021 received food or cash assistance from the World Food Program in emergencies. In May, the World Bank announced $30 billion to support countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and other regions to repair or build new agricultural, nutrition and social protection projects. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) continues to help LDCs fight poverty, hunger and malnutrition and strengthen the resilience of agricultural food systems through its “One Country, One Product” and “Hand in Hand” initiatives.

However, there are always undercurrents under global action. In the eyes of a few countries, such as the United States, crisis is business, and the global food security dilemma provides an opportunity for them to take advantage of it.

The U.S. and its allies have also repeatedly increased economic and financial sanctions against Russia, seriously hampering food production and exports from Russia and Ukraine, aggravating the blockage of the supply chain of the global industrial chain and leading to soaring international food and energy prices. Recently, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates and the U.S. dollar has continued to strengthen, significantly increasing the cost of food transportation and further increasing the burden on low-income countries that rely on food imports.

At the same time, the monopolization of food trade and the energization of food are also contributing to the situation. Currently, among the four major global food suppliers, Archer Daniels Midland, Bungee, and Gage, all three of which are U.S. companies. According to statistics, since 2021, the net income of the 3 grain suppliers have increased by 53%, 80% and 64% respectively. What’s more, according to the International Grains Council, in 2021-2022, the U.S. consumed 170 million tons of grain for biofuel production, accounting for nearly 30% of total U.S. grain production. The massive consumption of food for energy production will further impact on the world’s food supply.

In response to the global food crisis, it is urgent for the world to act together. In this regard, China is constantly taking practical actions to show its role as a responsible power. As the world’s largest food producer, China uses less than 9% of the world’s arable land and 6% of the world’s freshwater resources to produce about 1/4 of the world’s food and solve the food problem of 1/5 of the world’s population, which in itself is a huge contribution to world food security.

In 2021, China proposed a global development initiative that included food security as one of the eight key areas of cooperation. Currently, China is the developing country with the most financial assistance, the most experts sent and the most projects carried out under the UN FAO South-South cooperation framework. In April this year, China and the World Food Programme launched a knowledge-sharing platform for South-South cooperation to disseminate Chinese and global knowledge, technology and experience in smallholder development, smallholder value chains, post-production food loss reduction, disaster mitigation and prevention, and to help more developing countries improve their food production capacity and disaster resilience. Practice has fully proved that China is a reliable partner of the United Nations and developing countries in the field of food security, and an active force in maintaining world food security.

The issue of food security is not only about food rations, but also about the development of the world economy and the stability of regional countries, and is a fundamental issue for the survival of mankind. In the face of global food security challenges, the only way to overcome them is through joint cooperation. At present, the United States and other countries should expeditiously lift the unilateral sanctions imposed on food production and export, release the artificial pressure exerted on the supply chain of the global food industry, and actively assume international obligations and give more assistance to developing countries. While providing emergency assistance to countries in serious difficulties, the international community should work together to strengthen policy coordination and docking, improve the productivity and efficiency of the global agricultural food system, build a more resilient global food security governance system, implement the sustainable development goal of “zero hunger” by 2030, and build a A world without hunger.

Post time: Sep-22-2022