With the outbreak of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, discussions gradually shifted from reviewing the ramifications of this conflagration towards a new hot issue that affects billions of people worldwide, namely food insufficiency.
Press reports indicate that this European conflagration has blocked the export of millions of tons of wheat to several countries which drastically affects millions of people and throws them into the grip of starvation. Actually with the emergence of the specter of starvation, violence is prone to erupt among nations and peoples while seeking to stave off hunger and fill empty stomachs with food. Ukraine and Russia are considered the "granaries of Europe" or rather the world, with the two countries supplying about 30 per cent of the world's wheat needs. For years, Russia and Ukraine have ranked among the largest exporters of wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seed and sunflower oil.
Press reports have indicated that the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Permanent Mission of the Holy See has hosted a study seminar at FAO in Rome on youth-led action to promote food security and the regeneration of agri-food systems.
The seminar aimed at underlining the fundamental role of young people for a sustainable transformation of food systems and for the promotion of food security for everyone, as the world faces a bleak and uncertain future, at a time when the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises prepared by the Global Network Against Food Crises shows that food insecurity has reached its highest levels in half a decade.
This seminar is timely, as the wheat produced in both Russia and Ukraine is badly needed to keep hunger at bay. With the failure to export wheat to nations in various parts of the world, numerous nations are gripped by famine that creating further social and global instability.
With the exacerbation of food crisis in several Middle Eastern and African countries, hunger seems to be again on the rise globally. What adds insult to injury is the drastic consequences of climate change which includes higher temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme weather events such as droughts and flash floods which are making the food situation ever more precarious. The coronavirus crisis has also caused global hunger to rise yet again.
On the World Day of the Poor, November 15, 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis said, "We must do good, to come to ourselves and look, look at those who have more need. There is so much hunger, even in the heart of our cities. Many times, we enter into that logic of indifference: the poor is there, and we look the other way."
The damage inflicted by humans through various acts, such as deforestation and industrial activities that emit dangerous gases among others, is sometimes irreversible. This leads to climate change thus wreaking havoc in our universe, the home of humans for thousands of years.
An urgent panacea is needed to rectify the current food insecurity and ensure future sufficiency. In this regard, it is important not to rely thoroughly on the import of food from foreign countries since there are no guarantees that the flow of food would continue as has always been the case. It is important for every country to act on its own and launch projects designed to ensure food self-sufficiency by launching sustainable agricultural projects that guarantee production of amounts of food that brush aside the specter of famine. Too much money is being spent on armament and little is spent on the means that maintain human dignity regarding meeting all the needs of life on top of which is ensuring the availability of foods that can fill the stomachs of the poor and the needy who work day and night to ensure a better future or rather at least to have enough money to buy food whose prices have been sky-rocketing.
What the world needs further than food production is genuine peace, because with the installment of peace all efforts and funds would be directed towards deeds that promote human dignity and meets the missing needs for a life characterized by equality, justice, and respect for human life. Peace can come to humanity only by an unconditional surrender to the Prince of peace who has the power to confer peace.
What the world needs in the first place is the peace of Lord Jesus Who said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Furthermore, it is necessary in this respect to remember the famous miracle of Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Holy Bible that has become known as the "feeding the 5,000" people. (Matthew 15:32-39 and Mark 8:1-13) In this event and another similar ones, Lord Jesus multiplied loaves of bread and fish many times over to feed a huge crowd of hungry people. This miracle should prompt everyone to seek the mercy and help of the Lord so as extricate humanity from the affliction and grip of hunger.
In this regard, it is important to address Lord Jesus Christ saying, "Lord Jesus, You come to us as bread and wine. Fill us with your compassion. Nourish us as we advocate for change, and seek to make your Kingdom a reality in our world. Amen."