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World Food Programme says food supply chains ‘falling apart’ in Ukraine By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Wheat is seen in a field near the southern Ukraine city of Nikolayev on July 8, 2013.REUTERS/Vincent Mundy//File Photo

by Emma Farger

GENEVA (Reuters) – Ukraine’s food supply chain is collapsing, with parts of its infrastructure damaged and many grocery stores and warehouses empty, a World Food Programme (WFP) official said on Friday.

“The country’s food supply chain is falling apart. The movement of goods has slowed due to insecurity and the reluctance of drivers,” WFP Ukraine crisis emergency coordinator Jacob Kern said in a news release in Geneva via video link in Poland said at the meeting.

He also expressed concern about the situation in “besieged cities” such as Mariupol, saying food and water supplies had been exhausted and his motorcade could not enter the city.

The WFP buys nearly half of its wheat supplies from Ukraine, where Kern said the crisis has pushed up food prices significantly since the Feb. 24 Russian invasion.

“With global food prices at all-time highs, the WFP is also concerned about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on global food security, especially in hunger hotspots,” he said, warning of “collateral hunger” elsewhere.

Due to inflation and the Ukraine crisis, the agency has paid an additional $71 million a month for food this year, he said, adding that the amount will pay for food supplies for 4 million people. “We’re switching suppliers now, but that will have an impact on prices,” he said. “The farther you buy it, the more expensive it is.”

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