GENEVA, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The CEO of the world's leading agriculture innovation company Syngenta Group on Thursday called on governments and the private sectors to step up their cooperation to avoid food shortages and a humanitarian crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Erik Fyrwald told Xinhua in an email that he was very concerned about the consequences of the ongoing conflict for the global food supply chain.
"Ukraine and Russia are two of the world's most productive wheat-growing nations. For decades, they have exported a large portion of their annual output to places that lack a self-sufficient farming sector," the CEO wrote.
"According to the United Nations, 45 nations import at least a third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia. Together with other food and agriculture companies we have to work hard to avoid another humanitarian crisis," said Fyrwald.
David Beasley, head of the United Nations' World Food Program, said on Tuesday that the conflict will have a global impact "beyond anything we've seen since World War II" and has turned Ukraine "from the breadbasket of the world to breadlines."
He told the UN Security Council that Ukraine and Russia combined produce 30 percent of the world's wheat supply, 20 percent of its corn, and between 75-90 percent of sunflower seed oil.
Fyrwald stressed that the stakes for global food security are even greater in an era when climate change is threatening the long-term viability of many farms around the world.
"The current growing season has already been challenged by unprecedented flooding, drought and high levels of pest destruction. Drought in South America has reduced crop yields in key growing regions, especially Argentina, the largest soybean processor in the world," he warned.
Fyrwald also called on governments and regulators to use more modern digital technologies to improve food security and the productivity of farmland.
"The world needs to work together to find ways to grow more and to do it without using more land. We need better seeds and more efficient crop protection."
Syngenta Group is a global market leader in crop protection, a global number three in seeds, a market leader in fertilizer in China, and the leading agricultural services provider in China.
The Swiss company, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is owned by ChemChina and has a global footprint with 53,000 employees across more than 100 countries. ■