War in Ukraine’s epilogue to global food (in)securityEconomy 9 October 2022
Estimated time of reading: ~ 3 minutes
Global food insecurity is one of the possible effects of the current war in Ukraine. The start of the UN General Assembly has raised several diplomatic concerns, such as charges against the Russian Federation for intentional strikes on the largest grain export facilities in Ukraine.
At a UN Security Council meeting, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stated, “Ukraine and Russia are major agricultural producers.” “The Black Sea region typically exports 30% of the world’s wheat, 20% of the world’s corn, and 75% of the world’s sunflower oil.” According to Sherman, the Russian navy is stopping dozens of ships carrying food for the global market from reaching the Mediterranean by obstructing access to Ukrainian ports. The airport, railways, railway stations, and highways in Ukraine—which are essential for the export of wheat, corn, and other commodities—have all been damaged or destroyed by Russian missiles and bombs.
Russia has also bombed at least three commercial ships carrying civilians that were leaving Ukraine. Russia “is actively targeting grain silos and food storage,” continued Deputy Secretary of State Sherman, citing Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. There is a food crisis in Ukraine and beyond its borders as a result of all of Russia’s efforts. As Russia restricts Ukrainian exports, food prices are already rising sharply in low- and middle-income countries. Wheat’s already high price has increased by 20 to 50 percent this year across the Middle East and Africa. Sherman stated “We are especially concerned about countries… that substantially rely on Ukrainian imports to feed their populations.
“The World Food Program now provides food for 138 million people in more than 80 nations, ranging from Nigeria to Syria, South Sudan to Yemen, and Ethiopia to Afghanistan. But now Putin’s war is raising the cost of providing food aid. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that another 13 million people worldwide could be pushed into food insecurity as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”. Finally, she asserted that a long-term ceasefire and Russia’s complete withdrawal of its troops from Ukrainian territory and away from its borders are the only ways to put an end to this humanitarian catastrophe. Only one person has the power to decide that. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, blockades have forced ports on the Black and Azov Seas to close, and the United Nations estimates that about 20 million tons of harvested grain are trapped in that nation.
Last week, wheat prices on international stock exchanges hit all-time highs. According to Interfax, which cited the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture, since the year’s commencement, grain exports have declined by 64% in comparison to the same time last year. One of the biggest grain producers in the world, Ukraine used to export the majority of its goods through its seaports, but since Russia placed soldiers there, it has been restricted to only a modest amount of exports by train or through its little ports on the Danube. According to the CBC, Canada, the United States, and allies are holding crisis talks at the UN and pleading with Russia to unlock sea, rail, and land channels so that Ukrainian exports can reach their final destinations.
According to the UN, 36 nations, including some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, depend on Russia and the Ukraine for more than half of their wheat imports. According to the Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the crisis “threatens to push tens of millions of people over the brink into food instability, malnutrition, and mass starvation in a crisis that might persist for years”.
Written by: Nenad Stekić