Ukraine, which used to feed 400 million people around the world annually before the full-scale war, is now facing a food problem: in 80% of settlements near the front line, people face obstacles in accessing food.
This was stated at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, 21 November, by Matthew Hollingsworth, a representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.
The UN Security Council discussed the situation in Ukraine in connection with the Russian war and its implications for global food security.
Matthew Hollingsworth said that "today, approximately one in five Ukrainian families faces some degree of acute food shortage", primarily near the war zone.
He added that more than 900,000 people "still living within 30 km of the front line" face the most acute food needs, which are exacerbated in winter.
Hollingsworth emphasised that "in one of the world's most important breadbaskets, hundreds of thousands of people living in close proximity to the fighting are now dependent on humanitarian and food aid".
According to the programme representative, WFP will provide food to about 750,000 of these people over the winter. In addition, another 1.5 million will receive cash assistance in areas directly affected by the hostilities.
He said that since mid-July, 31 attacks on facilities crucial for grain production and export have been documented. 28 of them were in Odesa Region, where "vital" Black Sea and Danube river terminals are located, "essential for global trade and food production".
Until February 2022, Ukraine accounted for 9% of global wheat exports, 15% of corn and 44% of sunflower oil, the WFP representative reminded.
He noted that Ukraine has already suffered losses of $40.2 billion in the agricultural sector.
"We all need to focus our efforts on meeting the immediate needs of this country, particularly in the long term, to ensure that this agricultural powerhouse is quickly restored and can help the world's hungry, because when the next food crisis hits, the world will need Ukraine again," Hollingsworth said.