Hungary is ready to maintain its participation in international efforts to prevent a global food crisis expected as a result of the war in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in New York late on Thursday local time.
The ministry said in a statement that addressing the UN Security Council open debate in connection with “Conflict and food security”, Szijjártó said that the war posed direct and indirect security risks for Hungary, being a neighbouring country to Ukraine, partly as a result of the proximity of the fighting and partly due to potential further waves of migrants resulting from the crisis. He said the armed conflict posed a serious threat to global food supplies considering that both Russia and Ukraine were among the largest grain exporters in the world.
The war could bring about an especially difficult situation in regions already facing conflict and economic challenges, resulting in an increased threat of terrorism and further migratory waves, he added. The international community must make every effort to prevent such a crisis, he said. Missing food supplies must be either replaced from alternative sources or, if this is not possible, Ukraine must be given help to maintain its exports, Szijjártó said. Hungary is helping farmers in Transcarpathia with seeds, offering ten tonnes of maize, five tonnes of potatoes and half a tonne of sunflowers, to support local supplies and export capacities, he added.
Food shortage results in significantly higher prices, as demonstrated by the record 21% increase in the price index of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) over the past year, he said. It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that those who bear no responsibility for the outbreak of the war should not be forced to pay the price of the war, he said. This is why Hungary has introduced price caps on several basic food products, he added. It is important to help increase capacities in countries in need, which is why it is a considerable achievement that more than three hundred international food industry experts have graduated from Hungarian higher education institutions, Szijjártó said.