On Thursday, President Biden warned that food shortages could be imminent as a result of crippling sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and its allies. Biden made the remarks during a press conference at a NATO summit in Brussels.
“With regard to food shortage, yes we did talk about food shortages, and it’s gonna be real,” Biden said following a meeting with multiple world leaders. The president went on to say that the sanctions would cause hardships for Americans in addition to Russia. “The price of sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia,” he continued. “It’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well.”
Biden noted that both Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s most crucial grain exporters, calling the two country’s “the breadbasket” of Europe. The president then insisted that he was in constant talks with other G7 leaders about the need to ramp up food production.
“In addition to that, we talked about urging all the European countries, and everyone else, to end trade … limitations on sending food abroad,” Biden said. “And, so, we are in the process of working out with our European friends what it would take to help alleviate the concerns relative to the food shortages.”
Russia and Ukraine produce 25% of the global wheat supply, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. While neither of these countries export wheat to the U.S. directly, their absence from the global market is expected to strain supply and push prices higher.
Until Thursday, the White House had insisted that Americans would not be impacted by food shortages. While we’re not expecting a food shortage here at home, we do anticipate that higher energy, fertilizer, wheat, and corn prices could impact the price of growing and purchasing critical fuel supply, food supplies for countries around the world,” Psaki said during a press conference earlier this week.