The effects of the war on the world food market – Shortages and increases “fire”


of Chrysostomos Tsoufis

Food shortages, higher prices, worsening of the food crisis especially in the developing countries of Africa. This is not a screenplay about a dystopian world, but about the consequences that the continuation of the Russo-Ukrainian war will have on the world market of agricultural products.

Russia and Ukraine are not just random countries. In 2021 either one or the other or both together were among the top 3 exporters in the world in wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. Russia in particular is at the top of exports and fertilizers.

In the last 5 years, from 2016 to 2021, Ukraine and Russia represent more than half of world sunflower production, 20% of barley production, 14% of wheat and 4% of maize.

With all its ports excluded, Ukraine can not export grain. Only in Odessa, according to the German Foreign Minister Analena Berbock there are currently 25 million tonnes of grain trapped.

For the 2022-2023 crop the situation does not seem encouraging. But for the next crop there are many doubts. According to the World Food Organization, 1/3 acre sown in winter will be left untouched. Preliminary surveys conducted by the Ministry of Agricultural Production of Ukraine show that only 20% of the fuel needed for agricultural work is covered. Even in areas far from the theater of war, farmers estimate that 10% of their land has been destroyed by bombing.

The risk of grazing animal diseases is also increased and especially the threat of African swine fever.

In Russia agricultural work is proceeding smoothly, but here sanctions are what hinder exports. With less production and restrictions or even a ban on its distribution, prices will rise fatally.

According to simulations run by the World Food Organization, the sharp decline in cereal and sunflower exports can not be fully offset by the rest of the world, resulting in further increases of up to 22% in a global food market already burdened by the two-year battle. with the pandemic.

It is characteristic that from 2019 the price of beef has increase 30%poultry 140%, pork 30%, fish 30%, and cereals 120%

For the developing world and especially for the countries of Africa, the problem will not be the increased prices but literally how they will be fed. Countries like Eritrea are 100% dependent on Russia and Ukraine for the wheat they consume. The dependency rate is over 90% for Somalia and Mongolia, over 80% for Turkey and close to 75% for Egypt and Lebanon.

According to UN models, the continuation of the war could lead in 2023 to an increase in the malnourished population worldwide to 13 million, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


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