Combating global hunger

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G7: Solidarity is our current priority Combating global hunger

The G7 states want to take the lead in shaping sustainable food systems around the world and are committed to providing long-term aid to Ukraine and they roundly condemn the restrictions on food and resource exports imposed by Russia for geostrategic reasons.

4 min reading time

The photo shows Cem Özdemir

At the G7 Conference of Agriculture Ministers in Stuttgart, Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir met with his counterparts, including the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture Mykola Solskyi.

Photo: BMEL/Photothek

Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir met with his counterparts at the G7 Ministers of Agriculture Conference in Stuttgart on 13 and 14 May. Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture, Mykola Solskyi also attended the conference. The Conference of G7 Foreign Ministers, which was chaired by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, was held at the same time. 

During these conferences, the respective ministers from the leading industrialised nations focused on discussions concerning important and global aspects of the agricultural and food sectors, and in particular Russia's attack on Ukraine in violation of international law, its consequences for Ukraine itself, and its wider implications for food security.

Results of the conferences

The G7 states called upon Russia to stop its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly on railway lines and ports, and to allow the export of at least 25 million tonnes of grain, as about 43 million people are just one step away from famine as a result of the war in Ukraine. 

The G7 states are committed to providing long-term support for Ukraine by securing the food supply for the population and helping Ukrainian agriculture wherever possible. Alternatives to shipping grain from Ukraine are being explored with a view to breaking the Russian blockade in this area. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock explained that they are looking into whether it may be possible to export it via the Baltic ports, for example.

The G7 states will be launching a Global Alliance for Food Security to tackle the threatening supply crisis in many parts of the world, which will be formally established at the G7 Development Ministers Conference.

Various measures under consideration

"We are also holding talks with the EU Commission about how we could provide specific help with exporting wheat from Ukraine as rapidly as possible to create storage space for the coming harvest,” says Özdemir. The European Commission's action plan, he continues, includes various proposals for new overland export routes and the search is on for new storage capacities for Ukrainian agricultural goods within the EU. “However,” Özdemir emphasises: "regardless of what we do, we will not be able to replace the sea route entirely". Odessa, which is Ukraine's last free seaport, must not fall.

Ukraine is one of the world’s most important exporters of grain. About a quarter of the global demand for wheat is met by Ukraine and Russia and 50 percent of wheat for the World Food Programme comes from Ukraine alone. Russia is responsible for 10 percent of the world’s wheat production whilst Ukraine produces 4 percent. In recent years, the EU’sshare of global wheat production has been around 20 percent.

Other important outcomes from the G7 Ministers of Agriculture Conference

The G7 ministers of agriculture have also pledged to monitor production and food prices more closely with a view to being able to react to developments more rapidly. One of the significant contributing factors to increasing food prices is higher costs for operating resources such as fertiliser and seed. The G7 countries are planning to boost the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). Germany, for example, will be doubling its contribution to 80,000 dollars.

The G7 states are committed to stabilising markets. They oppose export freezes and are calling for markets to be kept open. Excessive stockpiling of agricultural products within individual countries must be avoided as this shows a lack of solidarity and leads to further price hikes. 

Combating the effects of the climate crisis

The ministers of agriculture also recognise that global food security, climate protection, and the preservation of biodiversity can only be achieved in concert.

Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in violation of international law, the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity, and the COVID-19 pandemic, posed a major threat to global food security. The war is currently having a significant impact on the global food situation and is once again highlighting the impact of conflicts on global food security. 

The G7 states therefore want to play an international leadership role to point out ways to achieve sustainable food systems. “The only way we will be able to secure the right to food," says Federal Minister of Agriculture Özdemir, “will be by enabling farmers around the world to increase productivity and shore up resilient ecosystems”.

The member states agreed on a final communiqué, the statements and commitments of which will inform the G7 Summit of Heads of State and Government at Schloss Elmau in June 2022.

Germany assumed the G7 Presidency on 1 January 2022. The G7 Presidency rotates between members on an annual basis. The G7 democracies include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and the USA. The European Union is also represented at all G7 meetings. The Presidency rotates between members on an annual basis. G7 summits are regarded as a platform on which important ideas are developed for the solution of global problems based on a set of commonly held values.