The war has triggered the third global food crisis in 15 years, with supplies of wheat, cereals, and edible oils particularly impacted.
It’s estimated around 20 million tonnes of wheat has been trapped in Ukraine since its neighbour’s invasion.
The two countries provide up to a third of the world’s grain exports. Ukraine’s grain exports have fallen from around five million to between 200,000 to one million tonnes per month since the start of the crisis.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen has accused Russia of deliberately hoarding and blocking food supplies to drive up prices and “blackmail” countries to end their sanctions.
The situation has caused concerns among some that the Commission will, under the influence of certain lobby groups, water down its sustainability strategy to focus on ramping up productivity in the short term.
For example, The European Commission is reportedly amenable to a German proposal to delay new EU rules on crop rotation in order to increase wheat production. Diverse crop rotations can help strengthen the resilience of agricultural soil. But postponing the rules would be a “pragmatic solution” to allow farmers to “strengthen global supply without worsening other crises like the climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss,” said German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir.
In a press briefing on 30 May, Wojciechowski called the conflict in Ukraine a “seismic event” from which the tremors will be felt for “many years to come”.