World, Europe

Macron proposes food vouchers for poor French families

French president warns of global food crisis due to Russia's war on Ukraine

Shweta Desai   | 22.03.2022
Macron proposes food vouchers for poor French families


President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced his proposal to set up food coupons for poor families in France to help them cope with food inflation resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

"I want to set up food vouchers to help the most modest households and the middle class families to cope with the additional costs," Macron, who is campaigning for re-election, told France Bleu radio. France will vote for the first round of presidential elections on April 10.

The French leader was responding to a question posed by a baker that in the backdrop of the war, prices of fuel, electricity and flour have skyrocketed and the general public were left to fend themselves without any government help.

Although he did not elaborate further on the details of the food stamps, Macron said his government has put out a package to help self-employed individuals as well as low- and middle- income families to deal with inflation on energy and food costs.

His announcement is reminiscent of the food crisis during the World War II when European countries were forced to issue food stamps and ration primary food items.

Macron said France too will be confronted with the consequences of global food crisis in the coming months as Russia and Ukraine are granaries of international food.

He noted it will be pertinent for Europe to draw a strategy to effectively deal with surges in costs of food.

France will pursue a strategy of food independence, similar to energy independence from Russian gas and oil the country aims to reach in the next decade.

"In the face of global food crisis, we will defend, protect and build our independence," he said.

Due to sanctions against Russia, Europe is reeling under severe energy crisis that has led to high costs of fuel and gas, impacting daily life and transportation for millions. Several countries are dependent on Russia for gas and oil supplies.

As the war continues, Ukrainian authorities have alerted that the country may not be able to produce enough crops for exports next year as farmers are unable to attend to the sowing season.

Ukraine is a major agricultural country and supplier of wheat, corn, barley, and vegetable oil. It is known as the breadbasket of Europe. However, the ongoing war could cause major disruption in food production and supplies.

Last week Macron said the war could trigger a food crisis in Africa and the Middle East as both Ukraine and Russia are leading crop producers. Around half of Africa’s wheat imports are dependent upon the two countries.

During a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also warned about the serious risk of famine if the war continues in Ukraine. He said the EU will have to take charge of the situation and draw response to deal with the food crisis.

Le Drian also said the war was making it impossible for Ukrainian farmers to sow crops, harvest or export them.

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