The US And Ukraine Have New Plans To Combat The Food Crisis

A variety of factors have plunged the world into a global food crisis. According to the World Bank's Food Commodity Price Index, the price of food has been steadily increasing over the last two years. It states that the crisis began in mid-2020 due to "various supply chain constraints and surging demand."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the cost of groceries continued to rise into 2021 due to rising production costs as well as difficulties with labor and shipping. Time also noted that many companies reported record high profit margins, and alleged that some opportunism on those companies' part may have played a role.

This crisis was then exaggerated even further by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite Russia's denial of these claims. Russia and Ukraine produce almost a third of the world's wheat which caused the cost of products like bread and pasta to skyrocket (via CNBC News). Russia is also a major exporter of fuel and fertilizer which has put a strain on farmers who are starting their growing season with well above average input costs. It's hard to say when prices may begin to drop, but the U.S. and Ukraine have recently announced a partnership to help strengthen some of the global food systems responsible for the current crisis.

US and Ukraine agree to three year collaboration

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine announced on Thursday that they would be entering into a joint agreement with the hopes to "strengthen agricultural collaboration and fight global food insecurity." The agreement was announced at a meeting with United Nations (UN) ambassadors and officials at the U.S. Mission to the U.N.

"Russia is using food as a weapon and a tool of war to threaten the livelihoods of those around the world, and that is something the agriculture community cannot and will not stand for," said United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (per USDA).

The two groups will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will form a three-year partnership to accomplish their mutual goals. This will be done by creating an open channel of information as well as providing technical assistance for matters like crop production, food security, supply chain, animal health, and sanitary controls. According to the USDA, the partnership will also make use of the Borlaug Fellowship Program and re-establish the Cochran Fellowship Program "to enhance U.S.– Ukraine collaboration and research as Ukraine rebuilds its agricultural sector."

This news comes as European leaders show support for Ukraine's bid to become an "immediate candidate" for status as a European Union member, and Russia continues to assault access to food within Ukraine (via BBC).