Last week, the European Commission presented a range of short-term and medium-term actions to enhance global food security and to support farmers and consumers in the EU in light of rising food prices and input costs, such as energy and fertilisers. The surge in global commodity prices, further accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, highlights again the need for EU agriculture and food supply chains to become more resilient and sustainable, in line with the Farm to Fork strategy.
The Commission is committed to taking all necessary measures to ensure that the EU, as a net food exporter and top agri-food producer, contributes to global food security, particularly in Ukraine, North Africa and the Middle East, which largely rely on imports of cereals, as well as in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The EU is a lead provider of humanitarian and development assistance on food and food systems.
Food availability is currently not at stake in the EU, since the continent is largely self-sufficient for many agricultural products. However, our agricultural sector is a net importer of specific products, for example feed protein. This vulnerability, together with high input costs, such as fertilisers and fossil energy, is causing production challenges for farmers and risks driving up food prices.
Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “Russia’s war against Ukraine has created a multitude of problems including in relation to global food security. When it comes to food, now is the time for Europe to show its solidarity: to help Ukraine, its people and farmers, as well as vulnerable food-importing countries around the world that face surging prices and potential shortages. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainians by securing their access to basic goods and services, notably food. At the same time, we need to avoid any export restrictions to keep a lid on food prices. While the EU itself does not face a food security risk, we should still address food affordability issues and take steps to make our agriculture and food supply chains more resilient and sustainable to cope with future crises.”
Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “We will not let Ukraine stand alone in the face of Russian aggression. Our first priority is to make sure that Ukrainians have enough food, fuel and water. We will also help them to continue planting and growing cereals and oilseeds, much needed for themselves and for the world and facilitate their exports. The EU is an agricultural superpower and we will ensure that our farmers have the Commission’s full support to respond to the global needs for food. We will do this while working towards making our food supply chains more sustainable and resilient to future crises.”