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CAFOD statement on international deal to restart grain exports from Ukraine

22 July 2022

An international deal to restart grain exports from Ukraine has been signed by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Ukraine has not been able to export grain since the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. The blockade led to a world shortage of Ukrainian grain, and rocketing food prices, leaving millions at risk of hunger. It is estimated that 20 million tonnes of grain are waiting to be exported.

Graham Gordon, Head of Policy at CAFOD, said:

"We welcome the signing of the deal to export grain from Ukraine, but on its own this will not avert the devastating global food crisis we are witnessing. We must prioritise countries who are now facing starvation, some of whom have over a 60 per cent dependency on its import.

"The blockade has shone a spotlight on the fragility and brokenness of our food systems, which are at the mercy of climate change, mounting conflict and unstable food prices. CAFOD has seen how in East Africa, Afghanistan and Lebanon in particular, communities have been pummelled by this catalogue of shocks, reaching critical levels of malnutrition. The UK government must reinstate its life-saving aid to these countries and invest seriously in building resilient, diverse food systems, which put local farmers and businesses at the centre."

Notes to editors

  • CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. We work with communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice, regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.

  • CAFOD is asking people to give, act and pray to address the
    world food crisis:

    • Give: Your support today can help CAFOD’s local experts stop this crisis turning into one of the worst humanitarian tragedies we’ve ever seen. Please give what you can today to provide urgent help now to families in East Africa, support communities around the world working hard to put food on the table, and help fight the causes of hunger longer term.

    • Act: Political inaction is one of the key reasons emergencies like this keep happening – please raise your voice to the UK government and demand they take action to provide urgent help and fix the food system for a world where no one struggles to get enough to eat.

    • Pray: Please keep all the families affected by this crisis in your prayers.

Fix the food system

The global food system is broken. It doesn’t work for those who work the hardest – small farmers – and it’s a major driver of the climate emergency.