Millions of tonnes of cereals blocked in Ukraine

Millions of tonnes of cereals blocked in Ukraine
© Belga

Millions of tonnes of food cannot be used in Ukraine, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Germany, Belga News Agency reports.

Ports and seaways are closed because of the war. Up until the conflict, Ukraine had been one of the world’s largest producers of wheat and maize, harvesting over 30 million tonnes of maize and close to 25 million tonnes of wheat in 2020, according to UN figures.

"Close to 4.5 million tonnes of cereals are blocked today in Ukrainian ports and on ships,” WFP Programme Director in Germany, Martin Frick, is quoted as saying by the Dutch news agency ANP.

Many countries, particularly in North Africa, depend on cheap wheat from Ukraine, which is also a key component of global food aid. According to Mr. Frick, there is “an urgent need for Ukrainian resources.”

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, WFP has provided food aid for about 2.5 million Ukrainians. There is a double challenge, Mr. Frick said. On one hand, there is a need to get food through to persons trapped in Ukraine. On the other hand, work still needs to go on elsewhere in the world to avoid a global food crisis, he explained.

WFP needs to be able to have access to populations and ports to be able to relaunch the export of food. “Hunger cannot be a weapon,” The director said.

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