The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Friday that global food prices could register increases of 8% to 20% in the wake of the war in Ukraine, noting that the conflict could lead to a sudden drop in wheat exports from Russia and the United States. This grain is the staple food of more than 35% of the world’s population.
In fact, since 2016, Russia has been the world’s largest wheat exporter. ” For two decades, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been able to use its wheat as a powerful diplomatic tool Last week, Didier Heydrich, President of the International Crisis Observatory, wrote in the daily Les reverberation. And therefore , ” Food security plays a major role in this conflict “.” If Russia remains the first wheat-exporting power, Ukraine has deliberately “Breadbasket of Europe”finds its production areas in the east, particularly in the Donbass region, which alone produces 40% of Ukrainian wheat. »
So it is easy to understand that if the conflict kept crude oil prices at high levels and prolonged the global supply deficit, food and feed prices could increase by 8 to 22% compared to their already high levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Logistically, the Ukrainian Black Sea ports are closed. Even if the road transport infrastructure remained intact, shipping grain by rail would be impossible without a functioning rail network. ” Moreover, it is not yet clear whether the storage and processing facilities will remain intact and whether they will be staffed. says the Food and Agriculture Organization. With regard to Russia, the Black Sea ports are still open so far, and no major disruption to agricultural production in the short term is expected by the international organization.
However, the FAO expects that the financial sanctions imposed on Russia will lead to a significant devaluation of the currency that, if continued, could harm productivity and growth, and eventually increase production costs in agriculture.
In the face of such a scenario, An additional eight to thirteen million people may be undernourished worldwide in 2022/23 ”, warns FAO. He notes that the increase in malnutrition will be particularly noticeable in the regions of Asia and the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.
In the face of this, FAO suggests that the most vulnerable countries find new and more diversified food suppliers. In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organization recommends the following: To avoid case-by-case policy responses “, for example ,” Reducing import tariffs, or resorting to export restrictions, can help solve a country’s food security problems in the short term, but these measures are bound to lead to higher prices in world markets.“.
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