President Biden Says Global Food Shortages Are ‘Going to Be Real’ Due to Russia-Ukraine War

by Suzanne Halliburton
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We’ve already seen what the Russian invasion of Ukraine has done to gas prices. President Joe Biden now is warning about potential food shortages.

Biden is in Brussels, Belgium, attending G7 meetings with other world leaders. It was called to talk about what next can be done with the situation in Ukraine. Russia invaded the country one month ago. Biden then gave a press conference Thursday after the meetings finished.

At a Glance: Biden Warns About Food Shortages

  • President Joe Biden is in Belgium this week, meeting with G7 leaders.
  • Countries are concerned with potential food shortages because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Biden said U.S. and Canada can up its production to help offset what’s lost in the war.
  • Russia and Ukraine export about 30 percent of the world’s wheat.

“The price of the sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well,” Biden said.

“Both Russia and Ukraine have been the breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat, for example, just to give one example.”

The main concern, in regards to food, is wheat. Collectively, Russia and Ukraine produce 30 percent of the world’s supply. Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko said his country probably will plant about half as much of its major crops this spring compared to a year ago.

(Photo by Pavlo Pakhomenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

War May Impact About One Third of Planted Wheat

Ukraine sows barley, corn, sugar beets, sunflowers and soybeans in the spring. The country plants its wheat in the winter season. Leshchenko said farmers sowed a 6.5 million hectares of winter wheat for this year’s harvest. However, he said the harvested area could shrink to around 4 million hectares because so much of it has been destroyed by war. A hectare is the equivalent of 100 acres.

“The territory of hostilities is constantly moving,” Leschenko said. “We hope that there will be some changes in the situation in terms of achieving peace, and we will be able to plant at least late crops in those areas that are now in the war zone.”

According to Reuters, Ukraine harvested a record 84 million tons of grain last year and planned to ship 65 million tons of it. That included 25.3 million tons of wheat and 40 million tons of corn.

So what can be done to make up the gap?

Biden said that he and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, discussed increasing their countries agricultural production. Biden said he also asked nations to drop trade restrictions that could impact exports.

The United States is the third-largest supplier of wheat. Biden described Canada as a “major, major producer.”

“And we both talked about how we could increase and disseminate more rapidly (to prevent) food shortages,” Biden said.

“In addition, we talked about urging all European countries and everyone else to end trade restrictions on sending — limitations on sending food abroad,” Biden said. “And so we are in the process of working out with our European friends what it would be, what it would take to help alleviate the concerns relative to food shortages.”

Outsider.com