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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/2/22

Aspects of food security in Europe

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Aram Manukyan

Prices for grain and many other products in the world have reached record levels. Of course, EU farmers will definitely react to this situation and try to expand grain crops. The climate and soil in many countries contributes to a good harvest.

This partially compensates for the lack of exports from Ukraine and Russia, but not fully. In addition, grain deliveries will begin only after the harvest, that is, in the fall. But until then, the deficit will only increase. In addition, do not forget about the growing energy crisis: in Germany, many farmers have already abandoned greenhouses due to the high cost of electricity needed for their heating and lighting.

Bread is a staple for the poor in Egypt, Turkey, as well as many countries in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. However, the danger of wheat shortage is not only due to the fact that a huge number of people in these countries may face hunger.

Despite the fact that the sowing season has not even really begun yet, the cost of grain has soared in the world right now. With a high degree of probability, we can say that Ukraine will not be able to export grain this year.

It would seem that military operations are being conducted on the territory of only one country, and the food crisis can cover the whole world. Why is this happening? The fact is that Ukraine and Russia account for up to 30% of global wheat exports. That is, the world may lose almost a third of supplies.

Wheat is also used as feed for poultry and animals raised for meat production. This means that many other products besides bread will become much more expensive or will be in short supply.

Despite the fact that grain exports themselves are allowed, problems may arise when financing transactions. Logistics chains expect no less difficulties. Many vessels will refuse to call at Russian ports, as insurance companies will stop insuring them. In addition, "Russian Railways" were sanctioned.

As a result, food prices in European countries have already gone up sharply; many goods are sold in limited quantities.

By the way, it is worth recalling here that Europe, unlike the USA, China and the Russian Federation, is by no means a monolithic structure. Some of the countries in the region are part of the European Union, some are not, the UK has left it altogether, and only a part of the EU countries are part of the euro area; i.e., other countries, in theory, have the opportunity to pursue monetary policy independent of Brussels. In addition, the states of Europe are unequal not only in terms of gross economic power, but also in terms of economic development, Northern Europe is much stronger than Southern and Eastern. Accordingly, any significant problem on the subcontinent is simply doomed to increase the stratification.

But if for rich countries the current situation threatens just a crisis, then for the poor - a real famine. Hunger, in turn, can provoke an even greater crisis, as it will lead to uprisings, revolutions and wars.

And if so, it makes sense to talk about a kind of "theater of operations" located in Europe. There are suspicions that the current events do not bode well for the region.

The last time such an event took place at the very beginning of 2011, and it was caused by crop failures in 2010, which, in turn, were caused by various natural disasters that occurred in different parts of the planet. The result turned out to be very large-scale; a series of riots and revolutions took place throughout the giant arc from Morocco all the way to South Korea, with acts of disobedience, civil wars and changes of government in some countries, in particular, in Egypt. And, of course, with refugees who tried to leave not to the south, to Black Africa (that part of it that is south of the Sahara), but to Europe, with all the ensuing consequences for it.

What's the output? Everything is clear with Russia and Ukraine; these are two sides of the conflict, one is being saved by the whole world, sanctions are being imposed on the second, but in general, the conflict itself is not very interesting to the big guys from the United States. It is important that, according to the current situation, it is Europe that is in the worst position, and with the development of the current trends, it has every chance to move from second place in the world in terms of gross power to third, losing it to China. And this will happen not because China itself turned out to be great, cool and did something incredible, but because of such a combination of exogenous factors.

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an American journalist with expertise in the history and politics of Caucasus region

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