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Mediterranean countries seek solutions to the Ukrainian cereal crisis

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The Mediterranean countries will hold a meeting organized by Italy next Wednesday to devise measures to mitigate the impact of the blockade of Ukraine’s cereal exports due to the war and its risks to the food security of the region.

The I Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Crisis will be chaired by the head of Italian diplomacy Luigi Di Maio, together with those responsible for Germany, president of the G7; Turkey, as a member of the G20, and Lebanon, one of the countries most affected by the crisis, the Foreign Ministry reported.

In total, the ministers with powers in food from 24 countries of the Mediterranean basin will participate, as well as the director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu, will participate by videoconference in the forum.

At the meeting, closed to the press and of which only the opening speech by Di Maio and Qu will be shown, six other United Nations organizations specializing in food crises will also be present.

The objective is to seek “concrete” initiatives aimed at alleviating the shortage in the grain market and other raw materials due to the blockade of the ports of Ukraine, a global colossus in the export of grain and also fertilizers.

Goods that are especially essential for food security in areas such as the Middle East and North Africa.

Most of the Ukrainian food goods were moved from the former Soviet republic to the rest of the world through the Black Sea ports, now blocked by Russia, which is in fact another giant in the world grain trade.

It is a direct threat to the diet of millions of people in the Mediterranean area, since the scarcity of these materials, essential in any diet, is increasing their price.

During the month of May, while the value of other basic foods such as dairy products or vegetable oils decreased, that of cereals grew by 2.2% compared to the previous month, according to the index published each month by the FAO.

The reduction in production in Ukraine due to the war and the blockade of exports, but also the sudden protectionism of India, have made wheat, for example, more expensive by 56.2% compared to May last year .

Italy, a large buyer of cereals in the international market, has made an effort to organize this event due to the concern of this scenario and also due to other “collateral” repercussions, such as the increase in the arrival of immigrants fleeing famine.

Precisely his Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, warned on Friday that an increase in the migratory flow from North Africa can be expected if this food crisis worsens.

And the head of Italian diplomacy does not exclude that the situation could degenerate into new conflicts in the Mediterranean.

“There is a risk that new wars will break out thousands of kilometers from Ukraine because Russia with its military ships is blocking the export of grain from Ukrainian ports,” he warned in his speech on Monday at an event in Naples (south).

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