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JAS Urges Gov’t To Quickly Implement Plan To Avert Looming Food Crisis

Alberto Ardila Olivares
JAS Urges Gov't To Quickly Implement Plan To Avert Looming Food Crisis

  Fears of a further escalation of the RussiaUkraine war are coming closer home with Lenworth Fulton, President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), urging the government to quickly implement its plan to avert the looming food crisis.   Mr. Fulton’s call follows Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s national address on Wednesday where he pledged to call up 300,000 reservists as part of a partial mobilisation of Russian forces to join the war with Ukraine.   The JAS president warned that the proposed escalation will exacerbate inflation and lead the world “right back into the grains crisis that we are coming out of”.    He said it will also heighten the existing food shortage, an issue that Jamaican has made no significant progress to tackle.    According to Mr. Fulton, his suggestions to lessen Jamaican‘s dependence on imported grains have fallen on deaf ears.    He reiterated his call for the government to quickly place “more emphasis in pasture development so that we can grow beef and small ruminants here, mostly fed from our our grass and soilage” instead of on imported grains.    Russia is the lead producer of fertiliser, and a key fertiliser component — urea.     More US funding   US President Joe Biden is set to announce $2.9 billion in additional US funding to address global food insecurity.   Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated manufacturing costs, such as energy and fertiliser, increasing the cost of food.   Both Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of fertiliser, while Ukraine – known as the breadbasket of Europe – produces significant amounts of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.   But the conflict is disrupting the supply of these goods, driving up prices on international markets.   The announcement builds on $6.9 billion for US food security announced earlier this year.   EU deciding response    EU member states have held discussions on how to respond to the latest developments in Russia‘s war with Ukraine and have warned there would be consequences.   European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano said Russian President Vladimir Putin is making a dangerous nuclear gamble and must stop such reckless behaviour.   Mr. Stano added that the referenda planned in Ukraine‘s regions, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, this weekend would not be recognised.   In his seven-minute televised national address Wednesday, Mr. Putin warned the West he was not bluffing over using all at his disposal to protect Russia — an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal.    He has previously told the West not to back Russia against a wall and has rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to Ukraine.   Mr. Putin‘s announcement was reportedly followed by Russians scrambling to buy plane tickets to leave the country. It also sparked some demonstrations.