Ukraine’s war squeezes food supplies, raises prices and threatens weak countries |

under topic Securing global food security in times of crisisThe most important threats stem from conflict, and the humanitarian implications associated with it, along with the many overlapping crises, said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to ministers of agriculture from the wealthy G7 nations meeting in Stuttgart, Germany.

“The crisis presents a food security challenge for many countries, especially for low-income countries that depend on food imports and vulnerable populations,” he said.

bleak overview

Based on the May 4 Global Food Crises Report, about 193 million people in 53 countries/territories last year were officially in crisis stage, or worse (IPC/CH stage 3 or higher).

Further data for 2021 revealed that 570,000 people in four countries were in the disaster stage category (IPC/CH stage 5).

Just over 39 million in 36 countries faced emergency conditions (IPC/CH Phase 4); While just over 133 million people in 41 countries were in the third stage of IPC/Chapter III. There were a total of 236.2 million people in 41 countries living in Phase II conditions.

“Rising prices always have repercussions on food security, especially for the poor,” Koo reminded.

Emergency and recovery

On top of the “already high prices driven by strong demand and high input costs” from the COVID-19 recovery, the FAO chief noted that Ukraine and Russia play an important role in global commodity markets, explaining that the uncertainty surrounding the war had driven up prices.

Prices of wheat, maize and oilseeds rose in particular.

At 160 points, the FAO Food Price Index reached an all-time high in March, averaging 158.2 points in April, and today remains at a historic high.

Mr. Koe said the Food Import Financing Facility proposed by FAO would be an important tool to relieve the burden of rising food import costs and inputs, potentially benefiting 1.8 billion people in 61 of the most vulnerable countries.

High prices always have repercussions on food security head of FAO

Arbitrage

Since the conflict began in February, export forecasts for Ukraine and Russia have been revised downward with other market players, notably India and the European Union, increasing exports.

“This partially compensates for the ‘lost’ exports from the Black Sea region, leaving a relatively modest gap of about three million tons,” the FAO chief said.

He noted that wheat export prices rose in March, continued to rise in April, and are likely to “remain high in the coming months.”

He also called on governments to “refrain from imposing export restrictions, which could exacerbate rising food prices and undermine confidence in global markets.”

Reliance on wheat

Turkey, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Congo, Namibia and other countries that depend on Ukraine and Russia for wheat production have been hit hardest.

These countries need to identify new suppliers, Mr. Koo said, “which could pose a significant challenge, at least in the next six months”.

FAO

Starred countries depend on imports on food markets from Ukraine and Russia.

depend on fertilizer

Meanwhile – at levels ranging from 20 to more than 70 percent – Brazil, Argentina, Bangladesh and other countries depend on Russian fertilizers for their crops.

While Africa in general accounts for only three to four percent of global fertilizer consumption, Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast are among the most vulnerable countries, relying heavily on Russian supplies.

“We need to ensure that major food-exporting countries have access to the fertilizers needed to ensure adequate food is available for the next year,” said the senior official at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and encouraged all countries to improve fertilizer efficiency, including through soil mapping and improved application.

Four-year-old Failo is one of 160,000 children treated for acute malnutrition by UNICEF in Somalia in 2017.UNICEF Somalia – groups

Ukraine help

To support farmers’ access to crops and livestock in the near and medium term, FAO has developed a Rapid Response Plan for Ukraine, which outlines three main actions.

The first is to maintain food production through cash and inputs for grain crops in October, produce vegetables and potatoes in the spring, and support the harvest in July and August, for the next winter crop.

Second, the plan calls for strengthening agri-food supply chains, value chains and markets through public-private partnerships that provide technical support to the household level and small-scale producers.

Finally, it stresses the importance of ensuring accurate analyzes of food security conditions and needs as they develop.

Format “indispensable”

“The coordinated action of Ukraine within this group is indispensable for facilitating the smooth functioning of global food markets, and thus for securing food supplies for all,” said the Director-General.

FAO stresses the need to support the continuation of agricultural operations within Ukraine; while supporting agri-food value chains.

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