PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The United States will provide agricultural development assistance of USD 25 million over 5 years for projects in Cambodia to help reduce food insecurityissue more urgent about Russia’s war in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Thursday.
This new aid is part of a 12-year-old U.S. food security project in Cambodia and will fund an initiative called Harvest Three, in which the U.S. Agency for International Development will do Working with Cambodian farmers and others in the food industry to bring products to more markets. The focus will include grains and fish, Mr. Blinken said.
“The needs are urgent,” he added. “Too many Cambodians are still living in food insecurity. Too many Cambodian children are malnourished. “
There have been grain shortages in many parts of the world because the Russian navy has blocked ports in Ukraine, an important export country. On Monday, a ship full of corn sailing from Odesathe first cargo ship to do so in more than five months of the war. However, experts say nothing will be done in a global food crisis that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, warned it could last for years.
Mr. Blinken has made global food insecurity a hallmark since Russian President Putin began his full-blown invasion of Ukraine. The minister has called on other countries during meetings at the United Nations and elsewhere to help alleviate grain shortages, and he has urged Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian ports.
Our Report on the Russo-Ukrainian War
“Food insecurity around the world is increasing due to Russia’s war on Ukraine,” said Blinken, “which has prevented millions of tons of Ukrainian crops from being shipped to the global market,” Blinken said. “.
The scale of the crisis – fueled by war, the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and extreme weather often made worse by climate change – is enormous. According to the UN World Food ProgramUp to 50 million people in 45 countries are on the verge of starvation.
The United Nations and Turkey recently negotiated an agreement in which Russia would allow food shipments to bypass a Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.
Officials from the United States and other countries are closely monitoring the shipments to see if Russia continues to honor the accord. At any time, the Russian Navy can close the cargo routes.
Speaking by phone on Thursday with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister Blinken praised the months of Turkish diplomacy that led to the corn shipment. He stressed the importance of working together to ensure that other ships can leave the port and the importance of keeping Russia to fulfill its commitments.
Cambodia, home to about 17 million people, is largely rural, with about 60% of the population living outside of urban centres. According to the US State Department, the agricultural sector accounts for more than 20% of the country’s gross domestic product and directly employs more than three million Cambodians.
The aid Mr Blinken announced on Thursday in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, will benefit the country’s farmers. He says it aims to give them more access to greenhouses and help them distribute their goods to more markets at home and abroad, as well as help women and young people get more from invest in this field.
“We have the know-how to improve farming practices in all climates, all income levels, so that countries have the capacity to produce their own food,” said Mr. Blinken.
“With this new phase, we are essentially scaling up,” he added. “Harvest Three will be shown nationwide.”
Mr Blinken also met Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, on Thursday and discussed food and energy insecurity. Energy prices soar in the United States and Europe after the start of the war in Ukraine, but gasoline prices in the US have fallen in recent weeks.
Ahead of those talks, Borrell told reporters that the United States and Europe must make it clear to the world that Russia’s war and blockade are not sanctions against Russia, is the cause of global food and energy problems. The two officials met on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hosted by Cambodia this week.