Biden seeks to boost US production to deal with food shortage

Joe Biden
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
President Joe Biden speaks in in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

President Biden on Wednesday announced new actions to boost production on U.S. farms to help combat global food insecurity during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Folks, we can make sure that American agricultural exports will make up for the gap in Ukrainian supplies,” Biden said in remarks at the O’Connor family farm in Kankakee, Ill.

Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of wheat, and it has 20 million tons of grain in silos.

Biden said the question is whether that grain will get to the global market given the war.

“If those grains don’t get to market, an awful lot of people in Africa are going to starve to death because they are the sole, sole supplier of a number of African countries,” he said.

He blamed Russian warships in the Black Sea for preventing Ukraine from accessing its ports and shipping out its products.

Global food prices have increased nearly 13 percent since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the White House.

The White House on Wednesday announced new actions that aim to give farmers resources to boost production, including moves to increase the number of counties eligible for double cropping insurance by 681, bringing the total number of counties to as many as 1,935.

Double cropping means harvesting two different crops from the same field in the same year.

The administration will also increase technical assistance by boosting outreach to farmers and streamlining the application process for farmers to use technology-driven precision agriculture. Precision agriculture is a farm management system that allows farmers to use technology to target application of inputs to soil and plant needs, which saves money by using less fertilizer without reducing yields.

Additionally, it will double the funding for domestic fertilizer production from the administration’s initial $250 million investment to $500 million in order to lower costs and boost availability for farmers.

Biden praised American farmers as “the breadbasket of democracy.”

“You feed America. You got us through a pandemic,” Biden said. “But you also feed the world, and we’re seeing with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war in Ukraine, you’re like the backbone of freedom.”

“Every investment banker could leave their job. If every farmer left, we’d all starve to death,” he added.

Tags Food security Joe Biden Russia Ukraine

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