Biden sees bigger role for American farms due to Ukraine war

US President Joe Biden wants to note the spike in food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian war has disrupted Ukraine’s wheat supply to world markets while at the same time sparking higher costs for oil, natural gas and fertilizer. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said the food price index rose nearly 30% in April from a year earlier, but fell slightly on a monthly basis. Americans are also suffering a bit as grocery prices are up 8.8% from a year ago, the highest since May 1981.

A trip to Illinois on Wednesday is an opportunity for Biden to tackle two distinct challenges shaping his presidency. First, his approval has been kept in check by high inflation, and his visit will coincide with the release of the consumer price index for May, with economists forecasting inflation to decline for the first time since August.

But much more broadly, it is an opportunity to strengthen the distinct role of the United States in helping alleviate problems caused by the Ukraine war. The visit follows a similar pattern to former Vice President Biden’s recent visit to an Alabama arms plant, highlighting the anti-tank javelin missiles the United States provided to Ukraine.

“He will continue to talk about the support we need to continue to provide to farmers so they can produce more domestically,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. “Like providing arms, we will do our best to help farmers provide more wheat and other food products around the world.”

In a speech on inflation on Tuesday, President Trump noted that Ukraine has 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn stockpiles and is working to help the United States and its allies export from Ukraine. This may help solve some supply problems, but the problems may persist.

Several House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with Biden after visiting Ukraine on Tuesday. They have warned that food shortages will cause the consequences of the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend beyond Ukraine’s borders to some of the world’s poorest countries.

After the White House meeting, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern said, “It will lead to a hunger crisis that is far worse than anyone expected.”

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are most likely to suffer from high prices due to crop shortages, according to an analysis by the centre-right American Enterprise Institute by Joseph Glauber and David Laborde this month.

There is a limit to the amount of wheat the United States can produce to offset the shortage. The USDA estimated in March that this year’s wheat acreage was 47.4 million acres, a 1% increase from 2021. This is the fifth lowest amount dedicated to wheat on records dating back to 1919.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will visit Illinois with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Bilsack. After speaking on the farm, the president will travel to Chicago to speak at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers convention.


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