Brazil has called for fertilizers to be excluded from the list of sanctions currently imposed as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing fighting. Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Costa Dias addressing a virtual meeting of peers from countries of the Americas, including the United States, pointed out limiting or banning fertilizer trade has a direct impact on farming productivity, food availability, boosts food prices and threatens food security, mainly among the most vulnerable countries.
“We must find ways to prevent that measures taken by a group of countries to punish specific actions at the international arena affect global food production chains. We cannot create an even bigger problem while trying to solve another one, said the Brazilian minister, adding that according to FAO estimates, the hunger problem is getting worse, affecting 800 million people worldwide”
The minister who also presides over the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), said the issue is to addressed at the UN through FAO when other alternatives to coordinate actions and mitigate negative impacts on agriculture and food production are to be discussed.
Minister Tereza Cristina Costa Dias proposed boosting exchange of information on global agricultural markets; intensifying scientific research to pursue technological advances that can improve agricultural efficiency and sustainability, expanding, for example, G-20’s Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to include data on fertilizers. If successfully applied, these measures would significantly advance market transparency and stability, argued the minister.
She quoted FAO director-general Qu Dongyu who admitted, we are concerned about food prices. Challenges will persist and agri-food systems must ensure their resilience”.
United Nations Special Envoy to the Food Systems Summit, Agnes Kalibata, also stressed the need for joint initiatives. Given the very complex situation we are currently in, unstable fertilizer prices will affect many people, especially if Ukraine continues under its current situation. There are many good initiatives out there, which is why I am here to establish alliances between the OAS Inter American System of Agricultural Sciences, IICA and other initiatives so that we can develop solutions and share information”.
Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture also expressed concerns on the increase in fertilizer prices and advocated efforts to increase fertilizer production through innovation, technology, and sustainability.
“The Russian invasion is accelerating the rise in prices not only for agricultural commodities but also for energy and metals, which impacts food security in less developed countries. So, we must do what we can to stimulate bigger plans for crops in the coming months. We need transparent markets and price compensation to produce. This is vital for bolstering supplies, sending a message to farmers to plant more, and keeping global trade effective.”
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