Indonesian President Joko Widodo is to meet with leaders of Ukraine and Russia next week to lobby for peace and help alleviate the global food crisis in the first trip of its kind by an Asian leader.
According to the Jakarta Post, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is to attend a G7 summit in Germany next week before traveling to Ukraine and Russia to try to mediate the ongoing conflict and attempt to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to free up supplies of Ukrainian wheat.
Unlike other nations in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has been vocal in condemning the war, expressing sympathy for Ukrainians but stopping short of sending arms to the country.
The visit comes as global food prices skyrocket due to lasting effects of Covid-19, rising energy prices and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The war has disrupted food production and agricultural exports from a region that, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), produces nearly 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply.
Nikki reports that Indonesia is Ukraine’s second-largest export market for wheat, where it is used in noodles, bread and flour. Russia, meanwhile, is Indonesia’s fourth-largest source of chemical fertilizer.
“The most important thing that I’m concerned with is the food price,” Jokowi said in an interview with CNBC last week.
“So, we want the war in Ukraine to be stopped, resolved with negotiation, so that we can concentrate on the economy.”
Oil prices are continuing to rise, while Southeast Asia faces shortages of fertilizers and grain feeds, with knock-on effects plunging some countries into desperate economic crises.
The World Bank said in its April East Asia and Pacific Economic Update that disruptions to supplies of commodities, financial strains, and higher prices are among the impacts of the war in Ukraine that will slow economies in Asia in the coming months.
The report forecasts slower growth and rising poverty in the Asia-Pacific region this year as “multiple shocks” compound troubles for people and for businesses.