risk foods for the poor – Time

Philippe Caleri

There is another aspect which is beginning to frighten European governments because of the war in Ukraine. The softest word is: difficulty in buying food for the poorest families. What few dare to pronounce, also because it refers to scenarios foreseen only among the so-called “black swans” (the unpredictable events for finance which can also occur), is: famine. It is the conjunction of several elements, not only the conflict but also the drought and the food purchases of the large countries, which risk bringing hunger to the rich countries. Not what those who live in absolute poverty are already suffering, but also the middle population groups affected by inflation, rising food prices and declining purchasing power. Agriculture Undersecretary Gian Marco Centinaio highlighted the picture of grain price tensions yesterday: “The wheat problem for Italy has been around for almost a year, with a devastating 2021 with – 30% production in Russia and Ukraine”. Hundreds added: “Last year, China took grain from various countries by speculating. And here is the perfect storm and we are in it”. It’s not just wheat that’s worrying. The problem is corn and sunflower, from which products used daily are derived, such as sunflower oil, for example. “On corn and sunflowers – he explained, we are helping Italian farmers to plant them, because it is still the right season. We help them from an economic and bureaucratic point of view because if maize goes into crisis, all Italian livestock will go into crisis”. The solution is not easy. It is possible to import from the United States, although the delays are very long (crossing from the Atlantic) and also for food safety (treatment with potentially toxic insecticides). “We already import from Canada, so the urban legend of Glyph Sato 2 is brought up when there are crises like this. This is the least of the problems because we are already using wheat treated with it,” he added. The most serious problem is GMOs since it is that of the United States. So far, the current situation is likely to turn into a more serious problem in the short term. And it is precisely at this time that the scarcity of agricultural materials will have its effect on the shopping basket. The European Union has already taken this into account The European Commission will present tomorrow a communication on how to preserve food security.The danger highlighted in the projects circulating is that, above all, access to food for the weakest social groups is threatened. low-income people, already affected by the energy shock, and who are still suffering from the economic consequences of Covid. A band that tends to widen and not shrink. There is also a second problem according to Brussels. And that is the quality of food, which tends to decline during purchases. A situation already seen in 2008, a new period of sharp price increases, when families turned to cheaper products which tend to be calorie-rich and nutrient-poor foods, so less fruit and meat replaced by example by eggs. A problem that is solved with greater agricultural investment on European soil before ending up in situations like those in North Africa when the Arab Spring rebellions began due to the increase in the cost of food. For the moment, no alarm in Italy: “There is the obvious difficulty of guaranteeing income to farmers, but there are no critical signs with regard to supplies, we will not have shelves empty,” said Minister of Agricultural Policy Stefano Patuanelli. But the Coldiretti nevertheless recalled that the rise in prices jeopardizes the food security of 5.6 million Italians living in poverty. The association headed by Ettore Prandini has asked to release 200 million euros as soon as possible to buy basic food to be delivered to the poorest.

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