The global food crisis is a result of the West’s “predatory policies,” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
“The West is provoking a global food crisis ... The cost of food on the world market has returned to the levels of the beginning of the year, but it is sill 40% higher than in 2020,” Putin said at a meeting in Sochi on Russia’s agriculture sector.
He said the global food crisis was triggered by developed countries with their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a direct consequence, without any exaggeration, of the predatory policies of the richest countries in the world,” Putin said.
He said these countries are printing money to buy food supplies, which has led to inflation.
Putin said the US’ food imports this year have already reached $218 billion, well over last year’ figure of $185 billion.
Food imports in the US currently exceed exports by $22.3 billion, which means Washington buys more food than it sells, he explained.
On exports of Ukrainian grain, Putin reiterated that an overwhelming majority of shipments have gone to rich nations.
As of Sept. 23, only four of 203 ships that have left Ukrainian ports went to developing countries, he said.
“Of the 46 ships that departed from Monday to Friday last week, 14 indicated Türkiye, the intermediary country, as the destination. Of the remaining 32 ships, 25 were sent to the European Union. Are they the poorest countries?” he said.
Paused since the war began in February, Ukrainian grain exports were restarted after Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul in July.
A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN has been set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.
On the export of Russian grain and fertilizers, Putin said the situation was complicated because of sanctions against Moscow, warning that this could further aggravate the worldwide food crunch.
He said Russia is “fully guaranteed to cover our own needs,” with 138.7 million tons of grain already harvested this year and the figure expected to rise to 150 million tons over the remaining three months.