May 03, 2022
WASHINGTON – At the weekly Republican leadership press conference today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke about the looming threat to global food supply caused by Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. As Blunt noted, Ukraine produces a significant amount of the world's wheat, corn, and sunflower oil, and current disruptions to exports and planting are driving up costs and increasing food insecurity around the world.
Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Well, on the inflation front, American families [are] clearly concerned about food. Food prices going up, as energy prices go up, as fertilizer prices go up, all the input costs go up.
“What we're really seeing happen, though, in the world stage right now is a true food disaster in the making. I've talked to former Governor David Beasley who runs the World Food Program, Ambassador McCain who's our representative to that program, of what happens because of what's happening in Ukraine.
“You can find different numbers on this, but roughly 25% of all the wheat exports in the world come from Ukraine and Russia, about 20% of all the corn exports in the world. 90% of the sunflower cooking oil comes from there, and a lot of fertilizer comes from there right now from Ukraine, which is the bigger partner in that food distribution of the two countries.
“And nothing is coming out of Ukraine. Nothing is coming out of the port at Odessa. Nothing is coming out of the port at Mariupol and hasn't since the Russian invasion began.
“This has huge impact on the whole world but particularly on Africa, food in Ukraine, food in Africa. What's in the silos in Ukraine right now is not getting out. And Ukrainian farmers aren't getting crops planted for this year.
“This has to be something we really [watch] carefully. There are a lot of hungry people all over the world already. But if you reduce this great source of food, the sort of breadbasket of the world—you know, we're a great exporter of food. But this area is going to be dramatically impacted, and that impacts our prices as well.
“But the real issue here, at this moment, may not be nearly as much price as is real hunger, some occurring today. A lot more could occur just a few months from today if we don't start thinking about how we deal with this part of that crisis.”