The war in Ukraine and the challenge to global food security

20 May 2022

Joint statement of the outgoing and incoming AMIS Chairs: Adriana Herrera of Mexico and Seth Meyer of the United States. (download as pdf)

With the war in Ukraine now entering its fourth month, the conflict continues to threaten lives and livelihoods around the globe by having a significant impact on already tight international agricultural markets. While we are used to the vagaries of weather in agriculture, unlike drought or flooding, the impacts of the war could last well beyond the current crop year, and thus create significant uncertainty that will roil commodity markets.

Grain and oilseed stocks of principal exporting countries are at the lowest levels in many years while prices of many inputs, especially fertilizer, are close to all-time records. Against this background, prices of major food commodities have moved sharply higher and become highly volatile as markets react to the latest developments around the world. Yet, despite this turmoil and volatility, markets to date are functioning well and importers are finding alternative supplies, albeit at higher prices. Producers should respond and expand production, but this will take time, and high fertilizer prices and adverse weather events could constrain and further delay the process.

In the meantime, it is expected that price volatility will remain high and likely not abate until the war ends and critical infrastructure, such as bridges, ports and elevators, is rebuilt to allow the flow of Ukraine grain to consumers in the country and around the world. The sooner this happens, the fewer the number of people, inside and outside of Ukraine, who will suffer. In the meantime, humanitarian aid to protect the most vulnerable is critical.

As AMIS Chairs, we will work together with our colleagues from the world’s principal food trading countries to find adequate solutions to address this crisis, ensure the smooth functioning of international food markets, and prevent the conflict in Ukraine to turn into a global food crisis. To this end, we strongly support the recent calls for an end of the blockade of Ukraine grain shipping and support the establishment of a blue corridor by sea or a green corridor overland to move foodstuffs from Ukraine. We implore that countries resist unilateral trade policy actions such as imposing export restrictions, which will only exacerbate the ability of the sector to respond, prolong the uncertainty in markets, and threaten the most vulnerable around the globe.

The statement is supported by all previous AMIS Chairs, namely:

  • Eric Allain – France (AMIS Chair 2011-2012)
  • Joseph Glauber – United States (AMIS Chair 2012-2013)
  • Karen Schneider – Australia (AMIS Chair 2013-2014)
  • Ian Mitchell – United Kingdom (AMIS Chair 2014-2015)
  • Robert Johansson – United States (AMIS Chair 2015-2016)
  • Friedrich Wacker – Germany (AMIS Chair 2016-2017)
  • Jesús María Silveyra – Argentina (AMIS Chair 2017-2018)
  • Marco Valicenti – Canada (AMIS Chair 2018-2019)
  • Marcelo Fernandes Guimarães – Brazil (AMIS Chair 2019-2020)
  • Tassos Haniotis – European Commission (AMIS Chair 2020-2021)