An Irish MEP believes that food shortages, caused by the war in Ukraine, could lead to a new wave of migration from Africa towards Europe.
Ukraine and Russia both play a major role in the global food markets, being key exporters of crops such as wheat, maize and barley, along with sunflower oil.
Russia is currently preventing Ukraine from exporting produce from ports in the Black Sea leading to concerns of a possible global food crisis.
“I think the real impact here is not necessarily in Europe but in developing countries,” Colm Markey told EuroParlRadio.
“Europe, because of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the focus on food security over the years, is probably safe enough in the short to medium term.
“45% of the poorest countries in the world import half of their wheat from either Ukraine or Russia. These countries are extremely exposed and vulnerable.
“If you take Somalia for instance, they have a significant drought at the moment, there’s significant financial pressures and inflation is impacting food costs. It’s essentially the perfect storm,” the Fine Gael MEP continued.
“The knock-on effect of famine in north Africa means a potential immigrant crisis of a different sort into Europe that’s not war-driven, but famine-driven,” Markey added.
“I think we have a moral responsibility to ensure that there are not people pushed into starvation because of this situation. The suggestion is that there will be an additional 11 million people pushed into food shortages because of this scenario.
“Certainly, I think it is a responsibility of Europe not just to look after the food security of the people of Europe but to look after the broader catchment outside of Europe that is affected by this.”
The MEP said tangible short term solutions would include an increase in European food production and financial aid to ensure that developing countries can secure whatever feed stocks exist.
“Equally, in the medium to long term, there needs to be a sustainable model of agriculture developed in these countries that allows them to be more self-sustaining,” Markey stated.