`War in Ukraine May Cause Worldwide Food Shortages, United Nations Warn - Olive Oil Times

War in Ukraine May Cause Worldwide Food Shortages, United Nations Warn

Mar. 29, 2022
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The war in Ukraine could severely impact food stocks and sup­ply chains and even­tu­ally lead to a global food cri­sis, the United Nations have warned.

We must do every­thing pos­si­ble to avert a hur­ri­cane of hunger and a melt­down of the global food sys­tem,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters in New York.

Food, fuel and fer­til­izer prices are sky­rock­et­ing. Supply chains are being dis­rupted. And the costs and delays of trans­porta­tion of imported goods – when avail­able – are at record lev­els.- Antonio Guterres, sec­re­tary-gen­eral, United Nations

In addi­tion, we are see­ing clear evi­dence of this war drain­ing resources and atten­tion from other trou­ble-spots in des­per­ate need,” he added.

According to Maximo Torero, the U.N.‘s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) chief econ­o­mist, the war is push­ing prices even higher, mak­ing food more dif­fi­cult to acquire.

See Also:Warm Winter and Water Shortages Complicate Harvests for Some Italian Farmers

We were already hav­ing prob­lems with food prices [due to the Covid-19 pan­demic],” Torero told The Guardian. What coun­tries are doing now is exac­er­bat­ing that, and the war is putting us in a sit­u­a­tion where we could eas­ily fall into a food cri­sis.”

Torero noted that the short-term prob­lem is avail­abil­ity, and alter­na­tive food sup­ply chan­nels should be sought. We think the gap [in food pro­duc­tion] can be closed some­what, but not 100 per­cent,” he said. Countries should also try to diver­sify their sup­pli­ers.”

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Russia and Ukraine, also known as Europe’s bread­bas­ket,’ are among the lead­ing pro­duc­ers of wheat and account for 80 per­cent of the global pro­duc­tion of sun­flower oil.

More than 50 coun­tries rely on the two food-pro­duc­tion pow­er­houses for their wheat sup­plies, includ­ing devel­op­ing coun­tries in Africa and Asia already in dis­tress.

In a word, devel­op­ing coun­tries are get­ting pum­melled,” Guterres said. They face a cas­cade of crises – beyond the Ukraine war, we can­not for­get Covid-19 and the impacts of cli­mate change – in par­tic­u­lar, drought.”

The Guardian reported that approx­i­mately two-thirds of the Ukrainian wheat ship­ments had already been exported before the Russian inva­sion. However, the rest remains idle in the coun­try, and the next har­vest is uncer­tain under the cur­rent con­di­tions.

In addi­tion, gov­ern­ments world­wide are resort­ing to pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures to safe­guard domes­tic food stocks, despite the G7 group urg­ing coun­tries to keep mar­kets open.

Countries such as Argentina, Indonesia, Serbia and Turkey have already taken steps to restrict exports of select food prod­ucts, includ­ing wheat, sugar, sun­flower and soy­bean oil. In the European Union, Hungary imposed con­trols on its exports of grains, in a move heav­ily crit­i­cized by the European Commission.

The war’s pro­found effects are not lim­ited to food alone; fer­til­izer prices are also ris­ing since Ukraine and Russia are both sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­ers.

Food, fuel and fer­til­izer prices are sky­rock­et­ing,” Guterres said. Supply chains are being dis­rupted. And the costs and delays of trans­porta­tion of imported goods – when avail­able – are at record lev­els.”

All of this is hit­ting the poor­est the hard­est and plant­ing the seeds for polit­i­cal insta­bil­ity and unrest around the globe,” he con­cluded.



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