WARSAW (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she will release a new report this week on steps that international financial institutions are taking to address growing food insecurity brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Yellen on Monday used a visit to a World Central Kitchen facility that feeds Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw to highlight the growing food crisis caused by a cutoff of grain exports from Ukraine and Russia.
“Clearly Russia’s war against Ukraine has exacerbated across the entire world the problem of food insecurity,” Yellen said. “The war’s having an impact beyond Ukraine and it’s something that we are very concerned about.”
The report will be unveiled at the start of a meeting of finance leaders from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies in Bonn, Germany. It will highlight that institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development “are stepping up to provide surge support” to help countries increase food output, boost supplies and deal with higher prices.
Yellen convened the heads of the institutions in April during the IMF and World Bank spring meeting to come up with plans to boost support
She called for U.S. Senate passage of a $40 billion supplemental spending bill that includes funding for Ukraine and $5 billion to enhance food security.
World Bank-arranged support for Ukraine has now topped $1.95 billion out of a pledged $3 billion in bank financing and funds from donor countries, said Gallina Vincelette, the World Bank’s country director for the EU and Europe and Central Asia regions.
The bank is advocating against a growing number of food export restrictions and price controls, which Vincelette said generally have the effect of making food more scarce. The bank also is focusing on projects to improve the productivity of food systems to reduce food losses and increase efficiencies, including better use of fertilizers and shifting away from chemical-based fertilizers, she said.
At the World Central Kitchen, Yellen met with several women working at the facility who are Ukrainian refugees. She pledged U.S. support for their country and asked what help they needed.
“Please stop the war,” one of the women replied..
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis)