Likely drop in farm production owing to scarcity of affordable fertilizer will worsen food crisis in 2023, opined executive director of world food program. Senate foreign relations committee was briefed by David Beasley, WFP head since 2017 and a former South Carolina governor that 50 million people of 45 nations are facing the ignominy of famine this year putting their stability under threat. Beasley stated that 2023 may present a food availability problem not seen by him and his audience in their lifetime. He referred to African development bank estimate that 20% drop in African food production due to shortage of fertilizer is expected, to support his statement. It is a known fact that production from 33 million smallholder farms is on what most of Africa relies. Food shortages will be compounded by expected drought in Africa, US and other parts of the world.
Chairman of senate foreign relations committee, Democratic Party senator Robert Menendez said that likelihood of food shortage next year is too perplexing and necessitates the need for contribution from other countries to add to the aid. According to Beasley and two testifiers at the hearing, Samantha Power and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US is still to achieve any significant success in convincing other nations to contribute food aid. Linda Thomas-Greenfield is US ambassador to UN and Samantha Power is Administrator, US agency for international development. Power stated that burden of providing help to needy is being shouldered by US disproportionately at the moment.
China has contributed merely $3 million to WFP for food aid; Europeans are busy offering a helping hand to Ukraine and refugees from there. Biden administration in the meanwhile has been exerting pressure on Middle Eastern nations to provide aid to Yemen. Beasley claimed that he was trying to convince Japan and South Korea to contribute to aid. Connecticut Democratic party senator Chris Murphy said that UAE contributed measly $23 million. $23 million is well and truly a measly amount for UAE, stated Murphy. Thomas-Greenfield said that Russia is not only slowing food outflows from its shores but also issuing threats to African countries against complaining about its actions. Out of fear of Russia 17 African nations have abstained from UN vote on Syria, said Thomas-Greenfield. She said that there is no embargo on Russian agricultural products but shipping of Russian agro products has slowed down because of self-made reasons. Virginia Democratic Party Senator Tim Kaine responded to the statement of Thomas-Greenfield and shared his hope that she could convince the African countries under Russian intimidation to state the truth. Power added that Russia has stolen over $100 million in Ukrainian grain also.
James Risch of Idaho, top republican on senate foreign relations committee pestered Beasley to compel Russia to shoulder the blame for food crisis. Thomas-Greenfield and Beasley expressed optimism that pact to allow 20 million ton Ukrainian food from black sea ports of Ukraine is concluded soon. Thomas-Greenfield stated that other alternatives are being explored but nothing can replace quantum of food to be exported from Ukraine’s black sea ports. Indiana republican senator Todd Young cautioned that risk of loss of American public support for Ukrainian war is real in light of Iraq and Afghanistan wars.