INDEED food prices have been soaring even higher in recent days especially amid Russia's war in Ukraine and its resulting repercussions on international order and security.
For more I have Professor MATIN QAIM at the University of BONN over in Germany LIVE on the LINE.
Professor QAIM it's a pleasure to have you with us.
NOW before we delve into our talk let's first take a moment to listen to remarks by the HEAD of the European Commission and the Russian president with regard to soaring food prices.
Do take a listen.
"Today Russia's artillery is bombarding grain warehouses in Ukraine, deliberately. And Russian war ships in the Black Sea are blockading Ukrainian ships full of wheat and sunflower seeds. The consequences of these shameful acts are there for everyone to see. Global wheat prices are skyrocketing, and it's the fragile countries and vulnerable populations that suffer the most. Bread prices in Lebanon have increased 70%, and food shipments from Odesa could not reach Somalia. And on top of this, Russia is now hoarding its own food exports as a form of blackmail, holding back supplies to increase global prices of trading wheat in exchange for political support. This is using hunger and grain to wield power."
"Russia, while ensuring its internal food security, its interior market, is ready to significantly increase its export of food and fertilisers. For example, we are ready to increase supplies of grain to up to 50 million tonnes. We will prioritise supplies to countries in the direst need of food and where there is the risk of an increase in the number of those starving, namely Africa and Middle East countries."
"Regarding, and I can't ignore this topic as there's lots of speculations about it, the Ukrainian food supply - we're not disrupting it, for God's sake."
RIGHT that was Mr. Putin this past Friday speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum where he DENIED Russia's role in pushing up global food prices.
Those remarks follow EARLIER ACCUSATIONS by URSULA VON DER LEYEN the head of the European Commission during a speech at the World Economic Forum late May DURING WHICH she claimed Putin was using HUNGER and GRAIN to "wield power".
1) Now then Professor Qaim pundits say global food prices were hitting record levels EVEN BEFORE Russia invaded Ukraine.
Do you agree?
And if so how do you explain it?
2) So simply speaking Professor Qaim Russia's war in Ukraine has been AGGRAVATING an already existing global challenge in terms of food prices.
That being said then how severe is the current situation?
I mean EU officials claim the consequences of blocked food exports from Ukraine can DEVASTATE MILLIONS worldwide.
Do you share this outlook?
3) Professor Qaim does this bleak reality look to affect supermarket shelves in Europe?
Why or why not?
4) Professor Qaim it has been said that food systems are critical components of disaster preparedness and resilience planning.
How should countries in Europe and South Korea for its part look to strengthen food security?
5) Beyond food Professor Qaim how does the surging cost of FERTILIZER look to affect us broadly speaking?
6) Professor Qaim what more can you tell us about rising consumer prices in Europe?
7) Meanwhile regarding efforts to rein in inflation in the long term would you say it's wiser (for a lack of better word) to risk recession over inflation?
(U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been accused of risking recession as he aggressively responds to the country's inflation.)