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Ukraine Needs Fast Help to Rebuild Farming, World Bank Head Says

© Bloomberg. Local residents prepare to plow the field on March 27, 2022 in Byshiv, Ukraine. Photographer: Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) — Ukraine will need fast help from other countries to get the fertilizer and seeds needed to restore its farming output and crucial exports to the rest of the world once Russia’s invasion is over, according to the head of the World Bank.

Ukraine would be helped by fertilizer from western Europe to replace imports of that key agricultural input from Belarus that have been cut off, David Malpass, president of the Washington-based development lender, said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Lisa Abramowicz, Jonathan Ferro (NYSE:FOE) and Tom Keene Tuesday.

At a time of food shortages in the developing world, governments in advanced economies also should reduce subsidies that keep prices artificially high — such as those for ethanol in the U.S. and the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union — Malpass said. Countries should instead focus on targeting support to the poor, he said.

Ukraine and Russia account for more than a quarter of the world’s annual wheat sales. Russia on Tuesday said it was taking steps to “de-escalate” the conflict, pledging to cut back military operations and holding out the prospect of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy to seal a possible peace deal.

“Cessation of the violence is the starting point,” Malpass said. “You have to stop the war, and then quickly provide them with enough funding for seeds and for the fertilizer.”

The World Bank provides about $17 billion annually in food support and has disbursed more than $500 million overall in assistance for Ukraine in recent weeks, Malpass said.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Ukraine Needs Fast Help to Rebuild Farming, World Bank Head Says

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