The UK is set to host an international food security summit later this year to increase support for vulnerable people worst hit by rising food prices.

The PM announced at the Delhi G20 that the UK will convene an international food security summit on Monday 20th November 2023, stating that the UK will “spearhead efforts to help vulnerable people and economies deal with the impact of Putin’s actions.”

PM Rishi Sunak said: “Once again, Vladimir Putin is failing to show his face at the G20. He is the architect of his own diplomatic exile, isolating himself in his presidential palace and blocking out criticism and reality.

“The rest of the G20, meanwhile, are demonstrating that we will turn up and work together to pick up the pieces of Putin’s destruction.

“That starts with dealing with the terrible global consequences of Putin’s stranglehold over the most fundamental resources, including his blockade of and attacks on Ukrainian grain.”

The aftermath of Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Initiative

Before the Russia and Ukraine conflict, Ukraine was the world’s fifth largest wheat exporter, fourth largest corn exporter and 3rd largest rapeseed exporter. Grain ordinarily accounts for 41% of Ukrainian export revenue, and almost two thirds of the grain exported by the country goes to the developing world.

The Government has stated that Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and the consequent spike in global food prices, will “cost lives around the world – further destabilising economies and putting people at risk of starvation.”

This comes as grain prices remained high throughout the month of August, as a direct result of Russia’s pull from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

UK will work to monitor Black Sea activity

The UK has said that it will monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea to detect any warning signs that they are preparing attacks on infrastructure in the Black Sea, and it will attribute attacks to prevent false flag claims that seek to deflect blame from Russia. The RAF will also conduct flights over the area to deter Russia from carrying out illegal strikes against civilian vessels transporting grain.

Alongside military efforts to deter Russian attacks, the UK will also contribute £3 million in funding for the World Food Programme to continue work started under President Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative, which was established in November last year to send Ukrainian grain to countries whose people are suffering from the high global price of staple foods.

In its first six months, the Grain from Ukraine programme allowed 170,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be delivered to countries including Somalia and Yemen. The uplift in UK funding announced at the G20 will enable further grain shipments to go to countries in need as identified by the World Food Programme (WFP). 

Ukraine has been a hugely important source of food for the WFP this year. This year – up until July when Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative – WFP procured 80% of its global wheat grain from Ukraine.