Life in Ukraine

Safeguarding Global Food Security Through Ukraine's Peace Plan

Safeguarding Global Food Security Through Ukraine's Peace Plan

Ukraine is one of the world's leading suppliers of grain and agricultural products, with a significant portion of its output destined for countries worldwide. That is why food security will be one of the key topics discussed at the Global Peace Summit, which will take place between June 15th and 16th 2024. 

In response to Russia’s ongoing aggression, Ukraine presented its Peace Formula at the G20 Summit in November 2022. This formula outlines a pathway to a just and sustainable peace, emphasizing that it’s not about compromising with the aggressor, but rather compelling Russia to adhere to international law. Furthermore, the formula addresses the global crises and risks that Russia’s actions pose to the entire world. It consists of ten fundamental principles rooted in the UN Charter, one of which is Food Security.

As part of a weekly series exploring all ten points of the Peace Formula in the lead-up to the Global Peace Summit, we delve into the crucial aspect of Food Security.

Global food security threatened

The onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 sent shockwaves through the global market. As a result of Russia’s actions, the Black Sea and a substantial share of Ukraine’s ports—crucial arteries for exporting nearly all of the country’s grain—were blocked. The very possibility of harvesting and exporting crops was also temporarily halted.

Ukraine has consistently ranked among the top ten wheat producers and top five wheat exporters in the world. That is why these events triggered a dramatic surge in grain prices during the first half of 2022.

The consequences extended far beyond rising prices on the Chicago Exchange. An estimated 345 million people worldwide face a catastrophic food shortage, with 82 countries requiring food assistance. Due to the war in Ukraine and the disruption of supply chains, the specter of famine looms over at least 70 million people worldwide. Global demand for agricultural products is growing at an annual rate of 2-3%, while the grain deficit in African and Asian markets could reach 10-15% as early as 2024.

However, the establishment of the Ukrainian Sea Corridor led to a breakthrough toward the end of 2023. Ukraine’s initiative enabled a significant increase in grain exports via maritime routes, leading to a decline in global wheat prices.

Ukraine’s overarching goal is to prevent sharp fluctuations in agricultural product prices, ensuring that the output of local producers remains accessible to potential partners worldwide. Within the framework of its proposed Peace Formula, Ukraine outlines several clear and transparent steps to achieve this objective.


The most efficient way to export agricultural products—in terms of speed and cost—is by sea. For this, Ukraine needs unrestricted access to Ukrainian ports and full and safe navigation in the Black and Azov Seas.

But today, that is not the case: Russia has occupied several ports and constantly shells those under Ukrainian control. It has damaged or destroyed a large part of the infrastructure, too. And the Black Sea itself is in constant danger due to Russian bombardment.

Despite this, Ukraine organized an export sea route—with the help of Western partners—which has already proven its effectiveness. Without Russia’s participation, exports have doubled.

A free trade route guarantees safe and—most importantly—stable exports of wheat and other Ukrainian products.


Today, Ukrainian agricultural land is under constant attack. Some of it is located near the borders with Russia and therefore is under continuous shelling. Russia uses mortars and aerial bombs to attack the fields and also launches drones at Ukrainian farmers. As a result, Russia kills many of the people who, despite everything, work the land.

Another problem is mine clearance. As a result of the Russian invasion, today, about a quarter of Ukrainian lands are mined. Some of them are fields for growing wheat and other grains. Demining is a long and expensive process that requires the involvement of partners to speed it up; otherwise, sowing on these lands is simply too dangerous.

Despite such difficult conditions, Ukraine continues to operate its agricultural sector and exports a significant share of its crops to the market. The safety of Ukrainian farmers is one of the first links in the chain of global food security.

Humanitarian initiatives

Since the full-scale invasion, Ukraine—together with its partners—has launched two food initiatives.

1. Grain from Ukraine is an initiative that allows participating countries to directly purchase agricultural products from Ukrainian producers and transfer them to countries on the brink of famine. This project is implemented in partnership with the World Food Program.

  • How does the program work?

    Participating countries buy some of the exported grain, and Ukraine then supplies it to African countries needing support. As part of the program, nine ships have already delivered about 220 tons of Ukrainian grain to Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen, Nigeria, and Sudan. In May-June 2024, the program plans to provide Ukrainian grain to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Palestine, Djibouti, Mauritania, and Malawi. Possible deliveries to Haiti, Somalia, Madagascar, Liberia, Chad, Lebanon, and other countries are also being discussed.

    For Ukrainians international partners, this is a win-win strategy. Through it, they simultaneously support the Ukrainian economy in a difficult situation and help other countries needing grain. One ship is helping two countries, or more, at the same time.

2. EU Solidarity Lanes is an initiative of Ukraine and Europe to organize routes for the export of Ukrainian goods and the import of goods to Ukraine from international partners by road, rail and sea/river logistics. The total trade value via the Solidarity Lanes is estimated at around €139 billion, with more than €46 billion for Ukrainian exports and over €93 billion for Ukrainian imports. The initiative is vital for Ukraine, as it allows not only exporting but also importing necessary products to Ukraine.

Why is it essential to support these initiatives?

Ukraine is among the leaders in the export of agricultural products. Before the full-scale invasion, Ukraine provided over 15% of the world’s corn exports, over 10% of wheat, over 15-20% of barley, and over 50% of sunflower oil.

The world food market is different from, for example, the electronics market. If you take away one smartphone brand, ten others will take its place in a matter of weeks. With food, it’s different—the market is not flexible. If one of the largest suppliers drops out, it will not be possible to quickly replace it with another: it will not be possible to plant the harvest or build new export routes. You can also live without a smartphone for a week, a month, and a year—unlike food.

At the same time, well-established, stable and safe exports are an important component of the sustainability of the Ukrainian economy. The agricultural sector is Ukraine’s main export, allowing the country to earn revenue and cover its own needs. This, in turn, allows you to rely less on partners and more on your own strengths. Which again is beneficial for our partners, who have been supporting Ukraine for more than two years.

Ukraine is undoubtedly part of the world’s food security, and peace and security are needed to ensure it. At the previous Global Peace Summit, Ukraine proposed steps on how to achieve this and what is needed for it. It will again be one of the main topics at the next Global Peace Summit in June.

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