In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the representative body for farmers and cooperatives in Europe – Copa-Cogeca – has expressed its solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

In a statement today (Monday, February 28) Copa-Cogeca said its solidarity does not stop at words and it will “put in place concrete actions in the coming days and weeks following the evolution of the conflict”.

“In times of war the focus on food security becomes of critical importance and it is essential to take the necessary steps early on to ensure that food supplies continue reaching those most affected, in the Ukraine and globally,” the representative body said.

And, it added that this is the moment to further strengthen united European and international cooperation.

The destabilisation of Ukraine by the Russian invasion has already triggered important global consequences, it said.

“Russians and Ukrainians are key international agricultural exporters. Ukraine is the EU’s fourth biggest external food supplier and provides the EU with a quarter of its cereal and vegetable oil imports, including nearly half of its maize,” the body said.

While the issue of energy supply is of great concern, agriculture is just as strategically important, according to Copa-Cogeca.

“For the EU’s farming community, which has demonstrated both a key role and resilience during the pandemic, this crisis comes on top of the Covid one and the sharp price increases of all major agricultural inputs (energy, feed, fertilisers) in recent months,” it continued.

“To keep a strong and peaceful Europe, safeguarding food security and supply chains is fundamental. This is a lesson we have learned from the founding fathers of Europe.

“In the coming days and weeks, while primarily focussing on the ongoing conflict resolution, the EU decisions makers must also consider its impact on key economic sectors.”

The Copa-Cogeca statement said that European agriculture is a central pillar of our strategic autonomy and EU decision makers must act decisively and swiftly to preserve it.