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Stabilising, supporting, strengthening - GIZ’s response to the food crisis

The Ukraine war has triggered a food crisis. In our interview, agricultural expert Heike Höffler explains who is particularly affected by this and what projects are doing to combat the shortage.

The war in Ukraine has triggered a global food crisis. Food prices have doubled, hitting those people hardest who already spend most of their income on food. Agricultural expert Dr Heike Höffler explains here what GIZ is doing to address shortages.

The consequences of the war in Ukraine are forcing 100 million more people into hunger - paradoxically including smallholders. Why should that be?

During the hungry months, when small farming families run out of the food they have produced themselves, they need to buy food. The current price rises are hitting them particularly hard. Next season’s crop and earnings are also at risk: the price of fertiliser has tripled. Supply chains in Russia and Belarus, the world’s two largest fertiliser manufacturers, have been disrupted, and China imposed an export ban on fertilisers in September 2021. That is disastrous, for agriculture in Africa, for example.

In the coming years we expect massive supply problems and income losses for rural households in particular.

What can be done at the moment, and how is GIZ delivering support?

Globally, we need more money to ensure food and nutrition security. This is especially true of the United Nations World Food Programme, to enable it to offset the rising world market prices.

At GIZ, we work on a number of different measures for our clients to stabilise the situation in the short term. Countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Lebanon and others are seeing wheat imports slashed. Additional projects are starting up there to stabilise the situation and endeavour to counter famine with measures like emergency soup kitchens.

Within existing project structures on the ground, we are distributing seed and fertiliser to farming families. We are also helping our partners to focus more on fruit and vegetables. And we are trying to keep global trade in agricultural produce open - any export restrictions must not be allowed to harm the wrong people. Alongside all this, we are supporting the efforts of the German Government to ensure that valuable agricultural produce like cereals and oil seed are used as food worldwide, rather than being used to manufacture biofuels or as fodder in intensive livestock farming.

Find out soon here at giz.de why we need to transform agriculture and food systems now, and how we can do so.

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