Food becomes more valuable in times of war (C. Meier)

With war and energy prices in Ukraine, global food commodity prices jumped 12.6% in a single month, registering the largest increase on record since surveys began in 1990. Coldiretti’s analysis shows that in the war month of March 2022, the FAO price index, which includes a basket of five agricultural commodities, climbed to 159.3 points.

To pull the sprint – underlines the Coldiretti Coldiretti – it is the international prices of vegetable oils, cereals and meat which have registered the highest ever recorded but also sugar and dairy products which are increasing sharply. In detail – explains the Coldiretti – in March vegetable oils increased by 23.2%, cereals by 17.1%, sugar by 6.7%, meat by 4.8% and dairy products by 2, 6% compared to February, under the pressure of sharp increases in production costs favored by energy prices.

A situation which – underlines Coldiretti – in the richer countries causes inflation, the lack of certain products and increases the area of ​​food poverty but also serious famines in the less developed countries as in the years of the dramatic bread riots that involved many countries from North Africa such as Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt which is the largest importer of wheat in the world and depends above all on Russia and Ukraine. But countries like Congo, which imports 55% of its wheat from Moscow and 15% from kyiv, are also struggling.

In fact, with the war, there is a risk that the market will lack more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, with Ukraine which, together with Russia, controls approximately 28% of international trade with more than 55 million tonnes handled, but also 16 % of maize trade. (30 million tons) for on-farm animal feed and up to 65% of sunflower oil trade (10 million tons), according to Coldiretti analysis based on data from the Center for Studies Disclosed.

Without the end of the war, spring sowing of cereals in Ukraine – Coldiretti points out – will be practically halved on an area of ​​7 million hectares compared to 15 million before the invasion, while shipments from ports of the Black Sea are blocked by Russia which, moreover, it has threatened to stop supplying food to countries considered hostile.

The emergency – notes Coldiretti – triggers a new short circuit on the raw materials front also in the national agricultural sector which has already experienced the failures of tariff volatility in a country like Italy which is heavily in deficit in some sectors and needs for a plan to improve the production and storage of the main raw materials, from wheat to maize, up to the expected national protein plan for the feed of farmed animals in order to regain competitiveness vis-à-vis foreign competitors.

Over the past 25 years, Italy has lost ¼ of its arable land due to insufficient economic recognition of work in agriculture. As a result, Italy is forced to import 64% of wheat for bread, 44% of that needed for pasta, but also corn and soy, essential for animal feed, with national crops that they only cover respectively 53% and 27% of Italian needs according to the analysis of the Divulga Study Centre.

“We must reverse the trend and invest to make the country as self-sufficient as possible in food resources by putting central agriculture back into national and European objectives”, declared the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini, stressing that “immediately we must to save businesses and stables from an unsustainable financial crisis, then invest to increase production and land yields with rainwater storage ponds to combat drought, but also serves to seriously combat the invasion of wildlife that forces abandonment in many inland areas and supporting public research with technological innovation and Nbt in support of production, biodiversity protection and as a response tool to climate change.

Christian Meyer

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