The world’s food crisis could last until 2024 unless safe corridors are created to move Ukrainian food stocks currently blockaded by Russia, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has warned.
Speaking at a press conference on policy outlook for trade and food at the on-going World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, she explained: “The food crisis, if we don’t get these safe corridors out, is going to last another year or two, to be honest with you.”
According to her, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres was engaged with the issue.
“He formed a crisis group composed of key UN agencies and related agencies. WTO is part of it, to look at the food, energy and finance aspects of the crisis.
“One issue is the creation of safe corridors and looking at alternative means to evacuate Ukrainian grain. Rail could take one or two million tonnes, but it’s very difficult so we really need the Black Sea.”
“I know that some work is going behind (the scenes) to see if we can get a solution. So the secretary general is involved,” the WTO DG stressed.
Trade, she pointed out, was part of the solutions to the simultaneous crises gripping the world, adding that the world faces the security crisis, the pandemic, the climate crisis, food crisis, all at same time.
“They have one thing in common — one country can’t solve them, needs multinational approach,” she further said.
Okonjo-Iweala explained that the WTO recently revised down its projections for trade growth this year from 4.7 per cent to three per cent.
“There are lots of uncertainties – many on the downside. There are lots of downside risks. If you don’t have trade, you can’t move food to where it is needed, she pointed out.”