Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Russia will not renew a landmark grain deal until the West meets its demands on Russian agricultural exports.
The deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, was due to expire on November 19. It has allowed Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain through the Black Sea, helping to ease a global food crisis.
However, Russia has accused the West of not lifting sanctions on its agricultural exports, as part of the deal. Putin told Erdogan that Russia would only renew the deal if the West “fully meets its obligations.”
The West has denied that it is blocking Russian agricultural exports. It says that the sanctions are designed to target Russia’s war machine, not its food sector.
The breakdown of the grain deal is a major setback for global food security. It is estimated that over 800 million people around the world are hungry, and the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the problem.
The deal has helped to bring down global food prices, but they are still higher than they were before the war. If the deal is not renewed, food prices could rise again, putting millions more people at risk of hunger.
Erdogan has said that he is hopeful that the deal can still be renewed. He is due to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy next week, and he has said that he will also try to speak to Putin again.
However, the prospects for a breakthrough are slim. Russia is demanding that the West lift all sanctions on its agricultural exports, and the West is unlikely to agree to this.
The breakdown of the grain deal is a reminder of the high cost of the war in Ukraine. The war is not only killing and displacing millions of people, but it is also having a devastating impact on the global economy.
Implications of the breakdown of the grain deal
The breakdown of the grain deal is likely to have a number of negative consequences, including:
- Higher food prices: The global food supply is already tight, and the breakdown of the grain deal is likely to push prices even higher. This will have a particularly negative impact on poor countries, which are already struggling to afford food.
- Increased hunger and malnutrition: The World Food Programme has warned that the breakdown of the grain deal could lead to a “global food crisis.” Millions of people around the world are already at risk of hunger, and this number is likely to increase if the deal is not renewed.
- Political instability: The breakdown of the grain deal could lead to political instability in some countries, particularly those that are already facing food shortages. This is because hunger and poverty can lead to social unrest and violence.
What can be done to avert a food crisis?
There are a number of things that can be done to avert a food crisis, including:
- Renew the grain deal: The best way to avert a food crisis is to renew the grain deal. This would allow Ukraine to continue exporting its grain, and it would help to ease the global food supply shortage.
- Increase food production: Governments and international organizations should work to increase food production in other parts of the world. This could be done by providing farmers with access to seeds, fertilizer, and other resources.
- Reduce food waste: Governments and individuals should work to reduce food waste. This could be done by improving food storage and transportation, and by educating consumers about how to reduce food waste at home.
It is important to note that the breakdown of the grain deal is just one of the factors contributing to the global food crisis. Other factors include climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Yemen. However, the grain deal was a vital tool for preventing a global food crisis, and its breakdown is a major setback.