By Monsi A. Serrano
It is with great honor and privilege to be invited here in your beautiful country Ukraine and right at the capital city of Kyiv.
Thank you so much to all the organizers especially the International Centre for Ukrainian Victory and its partners. the esteemed government officials, my fellow speakers from different parts of the world, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Philippines and Filipino people, we would like you to know that we stand with Ukraine and pray that the Russian aggression will end soon and that proper retribution and restitution be attained by your peace-loving people.
It is undeniable that the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine aggravated the global food security not just in terms of skyrocketing price supplies, but more so of the supplies. It continues to hound and creep across the world beyond Europe. Ukraine being the food basket of the world, was unfortunately become the victim of Russia’s unabated greed. Being the major supplier of wheat, corn and sunflower oils, and other agricultural products to name a few, this has also impacted hunger and poverty and feeding programs of the different non-government organizations in the world. To date, 1 year and 8 months since Russia’s failing invasion of Ukraine, the issue of the 4 F’s Food, Fuel, Fertilizers and Finance, remains a global agenda. All of these are interrelated, and this is also the very reason why food insecurity is happening. It’s a global crisis that needs a nip in the bud!
Pre-pandemic around 135M in 53 Countries were affected by Food Insecurity and now around 800M in 79 countries are on the verge of starvation., If this continues, it will lead to starvation. The issue on supply is not where it goes, but how much we have on stocks or availability of supply. And fewer supply posits more competition and drives the prices, which is the basic law of supply and demand.
Your neighbor Russia just like our neighbor China, is so obsessed with expansionism. But certainly, their aggression is backfiring on them. Why can’t they peacefully coexist with their neighbors? When will their ambition of ruling the West and the East ever end? Russia miscalculated Ukraine’s capability. And Russia has become a laughing stock to the world for the protracted war. They thought that the blitzkrieg attack against Ukraine would end in just a couple of days, But Putin was wrong and Russia still suffers from his bravado and folly. Yes, it’s a battle of David and Goliath. Ukraine is the David armed with faith in God, love for its country, and resiliency, among others. Ukraine is like Siegfried slaying the menacing dragon Russia, under the tutelage of Vladimir Putin.
Russia incessantly and shamelessly weaponizes the grain deal. And amid the Black Sea Grain Deal with Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations (UN), Russia thereby allowed Ukraine to pass into the Black Sea and later on canceled the deal and continues to hostage the whole world’s food security and threatening famine in areas like Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Afghanistan and soon in other countries where scarcity of supply of food and feeding programs will be stalled, Hence, there will be inevitable starvation. But make no mistake, food security is not just about supply. FOOD SECURITY means Sufficient, Safe and Nutritious Food Available for Everybody. This evil gambit of Putin must be stopped lest the whole world will die of starvation and war among nations and survival of the fittest will be the ultimate barometer of this sad state of the world.
Let us unite and find the solution to how we should stop the atrocities of Russia’s unlimited greed and bring back respect and peaceful coexistence among other nations. It is not wise to weaponize food and annihilate another country to advance its greed, political agenda and geopolitical expansion.
Food is a basic human need. As Euripides said and I quote, “When a man’s stomach is full it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor.”
Thank you so much. Slava Ukraini!
(Editor’s note: This is the speech of Monsi A. Serrano during the Global Crimea International Conference held in Kyiv, Ukraine. Monsi is the only Filipino speaker invited by Ukraine and the topic was Global Food Security: Feeding the world from under the Russian missiles and amidst the ecocide.)