Ukraine war to push back EU plans on sustainable farming

Situation in eastern Europe does not give ‘political space’ for proper discussion on issue, EU food safety commissioner says

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 23 March 2022 11:00
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Zelensky warns of possible world food crisis due to war in Ukraine

The European Union is set to push back plans to promote use of sustainable pesticide in farming as the Ukraine war rages on.

Officials have said they would not discuss proposals for a new law at meetings this week as planned.

Stella Kryiakides, the EU’s food safety commissioner, said the bloc did need to shift to sustainable pesticide use but the Russian invasion of Ukraine did not give the “politicial space” for a proper discussion on the matter at the moment.

Brussels has targets to slash the use of chemical pesticides in half by the end of the decade and is drafting laws on this - which it was due to propose on Wednesday.

Janusz Wojciechowski, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said the bloc would not discuss pesticides at its meeting this week, which meant the publication of its plans would be pushed back.

Concerns have been raised over what the war in Ukraine will mean for food supply around the world, with the country under siege exporting a significant proportion of the world’s wheat.

The European Commission is discussing this week how to safeguard food security and reinforce “resilience on food systems” amid the war in eastern Europe.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Its president, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Tuesday the consequences of the invasion span “well beyond Europe”.

“Ukraine is the granary of the world,” she said, adding it provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s wheat supply. “Countries like Somalia rely entirely on Ukraine and Russia for their wheat imports. This Kremlin-made war is threatening food security across the world.”

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has also warned of a possible world food crisis due to the war.

In Ukraine, the United Nations has said food supply chains are collapsing as Russian bombardments destroy infrastructures and grocery stores.

More than 900 civilians are estimated to have been killed in the first month of the war, while 3 million have fled as cities are destroyed by shelling.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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