At a press briefing in New York, Carl Skau, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, said that the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative after Russia ended its engagement was “regrettable, to say the least.”
Under the initiative, WFP shipped more than 725,000 tons of grain, relieving hunger in some of the hardest-hit corners of the world, including Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Under the initiative, WFP shipped more than 725,000 tons of grain, relieving hunger in some of the hardest hit corners of the world, “WFP relied on Ukraine’s competitively priced, accessible and high-quality source of wheat, ” Mr. Skau said, adding “despite the war and thanks to this accord, Ukraine remained WFP’s biggest supplier of wheat in 2022.” including Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.
“Losing this source now is of great concern, of course, as this is really about keeping the barn door open, just when millions are knocking on it. The world needs unimpeded access to major food supplies.”According to news reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to supply free grain to six African nations at a summit held earlier in the week, following the collapse of the Initiative.At least 38 of WFP’s 86 country operations have experienced cuts or are planning to scale down food assistance programmes, including in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and several countries in West Africa.
“Less funding means WFP is forced to stop assisting people who are only in the category of ‘crisis level’, this is so that we can save those who are literally starving – the category of catastrophic hunger,” said. Mr Skau. He explained that due to these cuts, people at “crisis levels” of hunger, will fall into “catastrophic levels”, further raising humanitarian needs in the future if the food security situation globally does not improve.“We are entering a humanitarian doom loop – where we save people who are starving, at the cost of millions of others falling closer into that same category.”Around 345 million people are in an acute state of food insecurity, while hundreds of millions more are at risk of worsening hunger, on the back of climate change impacts, natural disasters, food price increases, economic slowdown, and conflict and insecurity.