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OXFAM Sees Little Reprieve for World’s Poor in The Near Term

Oxfam International’s Inequality Policy & Advocacy Lead, Max Lawson, has said the recently signed grain deal between Ukraine and Russia would help calm spiraling food prices which have fueled poverty and hunger around the world. Lawson stated this after Ukraine and Russia agreed a deal to allow the resumption of vital grain exports from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports to ease the global food crisis sparked by the war. Speaking he said, “This is extremely important news that puts people before politics. The deal will help calm spiraling food prices which have fueled poverty and hunger around the world. “It will help countries already mired in hunger crises, and which until the war broke out relied on Ukraine and Russia for their wheat imports. This includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, which have experienced soaring food prices amidst the worst drought in nearly 40 years, as well as Yemen. “We have already seen an immediate reaction on global markets. The price of wheat is down 5 per cent right now. But this drop in global prices may not translate into an immediate reduction in the cost of grocery items. This is especially true if billionaire traders hoard wheat as it becomes available in the market. “This agreement alone won’t solve the hunger crisis impacting multiple countries around the world. We need a concerted global effort to ensure everyone has equal access to affordable, nutritious food. That means fixing our deeply unequal food system. “It is critical that food is not used as a weapon of war. Grains must be able to move swiftly to countries most in need. It is equally important that aid organizations are able to purchase this wheat and get it to those who desperately need it.” Also reacting to the development recently, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope — a beacon of possibility — a beacon of relief — in a world that needs it more than ever. “Promoting the welfare of humanity has been the driving force of these talks. The question has not been what is good for one side or the other. The focus has been on what matters most for the people of our world. And let there be no doubt — this is an agreement for the world.” According to him, the deal would bring relief for developing countries and help stabilise global food prices which, he said, were already at record levels even before the war, describing the situation as “a true nightmare for developing countries.” Earlier, as the war dragged on, Gueteres had warned of the grave fears that people may end up in famine, saying “It threatens to tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine.” On her part, Rabobank senior grains and oilseeds analyst, Ms Kalisch Gordon said, “When you think about some of these countries, particularly in Africa, they are purchasing fertiliser at high prices or not getting it. They aren’t cash farmers; they’re buying that to sustain themselves and people close to them not selling at the high price globally. “So, their cost of living has increased without any capacity to recoup that through higher prices on the market. If they can’t pay, they will have lower yields.” Also, University of Western Australia agricultural professor, Kadambot Siddique said, “The cost of production has increased, input costs have escalated, so it’s in a bloody mess made by human beings,” “This could have been avoided,” Siddique lamented.

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