Last Thursday, in New York, the United Nations Security Council. The meeting was chaired by Anthony Guterres, The Secretary General. So far, little has emerged, except for one key detail: this time the Council session did not have on the agenda to specifically discuss sanctions against Russia for the invasion. from Ukraine or another emergency in the world. The agenda was exclusive: the sudden explosion of a kind of epidemic of hunger in the world.
It is clear that the process now has a direct antecedent, which is the war for the invasion of Russia, but the consequences are already confirmed as devastating. Vladimir Putin always knew this when he decided to unleash a bloody war typical of the last century and unthinkable in this one. And the Ukrainian also quickly understood Volodymyr Zelensky when he ordered not to stop cereal production in his country at all costs. El rol de ambos países en el sistema de alimentación mundial surge evidente en cuanto se analizan los números: es Argentina y su gobierno los que no lo entienden, mucho menos cómo deberían aprovecharlo, y qué rol le cabe al país si quiere jugar dentro del mundo in the future.
Guterres explained without anesthesia at the Security Council meeting that almost 60% of the world’s undernourished population lives in areas affected by conflict. The debate on conflict and food security had been convened by the United States. The final sentence of the UN Secretary General can even be seen as full of practical meaning beyond the human: “To feed the hungry is to invest in peace and security.
It’s worth delving into the numbers The Economist showed this week to understand the UN warning. Russia and Ukraine are two of the largest grain producers in the world. Together they provide 29% of the world’s wheat, 29% of barley, 15% of corn and 75% of sunflower oil. The two countries together supply 50% of all cereals consumed by the Middle East. More frightening data: Russia and Ukraine produce the calories needed to feed 400 million people. In another vision: 12% of the calories that the world consumes come from there. And a good part of this production was stopped when Moscow ordered to block the port of Odessa. People whose food security is not guaranteed, as the technical name of the UN, have increased during this crisis from 440 million to 1.6 billion. Argentina, to understand the problem, plays in the club of global exporters and therefore should be more interested in the opportunity.
The crisis, everyone believes, will worsen and food will become increasingly scarce. That’s what the United Nations says and the reality proves it. So far, Argentina has chosen another path. Both the Albertist and Christianist wings of the government continue to insist on the policy of complicating grain production and increasing deductions as a tool to take care of “the table of Argentines”, a concept that the reality of local prices has already indicated is empty. To make matters worse, this ideological reasoning benefited last week from unthinkable international aid: India decided to suspend its wheat exports to protect itself from the international rise in prices following the war, an almost Kirknerist argument, could we say, if it is not because the realities of the two countries are very different.
India today is afraid. not being able to feed its population, estimated at 1.4 billion. It is no longer clear whether it overtakes China or not. As an exporter of wheat, it is almost 50% below Argentina by volume and is not considered an essential supplier of cereals and their by-products in the world, like Argentina . We will also be able to discuss the impact of the war on food prices, beyond the galloping inflation which dominates us and which absolutely predates the invasion of Ukraine. Having to clarify the latter in a memo is complex, but perhaps it is necessary in light of the government’s current narrative. The same story that ignores the character of a net exporter of food products of a country like ours that today loses the opportunity to be part of the solution to the problem that the UN has raised this week and even to profit commercially.