Global Food Crisis
- Ukraine and its allies in the West have accused Russia of weaponising food, saying that its blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports is the primary reason for the rising prices, while Moscow has blamed Western sanctions for the crisis
- Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ensuing economic sanctions, worldwide food prices have skyrocketed, threatening to starve millions of people, particularly in low-income countries.
- Even before Russia’s war, several countries were experiencing rising food insecurity. Supply chains had been disrupted by climate shocks, conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic, driving up commodity and grain prices.
- Food prices have risen in almost all economies throughout the world. Food and energy prices are skyrocketing across the Western world, causing a cost-of-living catastrophe.
- According to the World Bank, the Agricultural Price Index was 40% higher on June 1, 2022, than it was in January 2021.
- Maize and wheat prices have increased by 42 percent and 60 percent, respectively, since January 2021.
Significance of Russia and Ukraine for global food security
- More than a quarter of the world’s wheat is produced in Russia and Ukraine. According to the US Food and Drug Administration’s Foreign – Agricultural Service, Russia accounts for 20% of worldwide wheat exports, while Ukraine accounts for 8%. (FAS).
- Wheat is a staple grain for at least 35% of the world’s population, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization statistics (FAO). According to the FAO, more than 50 nations rely on Russia and Ukraine for more than 30% of their wheat imports.
- Ukraine is the eighth-largest producer and fourth-largest exporter of corn in the world, accounting for 16 percent of global exports.
- Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, producing up to 46% of all sunflower seeds and safflower oil.
- Russia has stated that if Ukraine demines the ports it controls (Mariupol and Berdyansk), it will resume grain exports.
- Russia has also stated that if Ukraine demines the ports it controls (Mariupol and Berdyansk), it will open a corridor for commercial vessels in the Black Sea.
- Amidst the growing hunger and poverty around the world, the two countries must come forward to resolve the crisis.
Source The Hindu