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UN Secretary-General: 36 countries import more than half of their wheat needs from Russia and Ukraine

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A total of 1.7 billion people around the world are facing serious difficulties due to the current disruptions in the supply of food, energy and the functioning of the financial system, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced in a meeting with journalists on Wednesday .

“1.7 billion people, a third of whom are already living in poverty, are now facing severe disruptions to their food, energy and financial systems, leading to rising poverty and hunger,” Guterres said. “36 countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for more than half of its wheat imports, including the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.”

According to him, prices have already risen and the Ukrainian crisis has exacerbated the situation. “Wheat and corn prices have been very volatile since the beginning [crizei], and now they are 30% higher than at the beginning of the year “, said the UN Secretary General. “At the same time, Russia is a key supplier of energy. Oil prices have risen more than 60 percent in the past year, reinforcing prevailing trends. “

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According to him, the same situation is with natural gas prices, which have risen by 50% in recent months. “Fertilizer prices have doubled,” Guterres said.

“Inflation is rising, purchasing power is declining, growth prospects are narrowing, development has stagnated,” the UN secretary-general said.

It’s time to use the reserves
Countries around the world need to open up strategic reserves and give up protectionism to prevent further deterioration in the food and energy markets, Guterres said.

“We can’t let things get worse,” he said. “And that means ensuring a steady flow of food and energy through open markets. That means removing all unnecessary export restrictions. Now is not the time for protectionism. That means sending surpluses and reserves to those who need them. And that means also limiting food prices and efforts to reduce volatility in food markets. “

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“We must also use this situation to make the most of the changes our world needs. Just look at the energy crisis. In the short term, countries should refrain from building reserves and open up strategic and additional reserves. “Guterres added.

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