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Pope Francis Urge Russia, Ukraine to Stop Using Wheat as War Weapon


Wed 01 Jun 2022 | 03:49 PM
Rana Atef

On Wednesday, Pope Francis urged conflicting parties in Russia and Ukraine to stop blocking the wheat and food transportation that was applied on the ground since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Pope said: "Please do not use wheat, a staple food, as a weapon of war," adding: "The blockade of grain exports from Ukraine, on which the lives of millions of people depend, especially in the poorest countries, is of great concern. I earnestly appeal for every effort to be made to resolve this issue and to guarantee the universal human right to food".

Russia and Ukraine are the world's largest wheat exporters so, at the beginning of the war, Russia closed the ports of Ukraine which threatened the developing countries' needs of what and food.

Two weeks ago, wheat prices surged to a new record high in European trading after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production.

The price jumped to 435 euros ($453) per tonne as the Euronext market opened, up from the previous record of 422 euros reached on Friday.

Global wheat prices have soared on supply fears since Russia’s February invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12 percent of global exports.

The spike, exacerbated by fertilizer shortages and poor harvests, has fuelled inflation globally and raised fears of famine and social unrest in poorer countries.

India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said that it was banning exports after its hottest March on record, with traders needing express government approval to enter into new deals.

"Some parts of India have seen prices in wheat and flour jump 20 to 40 percent in recent weeks," Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said on Sunday.

Because of the sharp rise in global prices, some farmers were selling to traders and not to the government.