CEM REPORT | The United Nations has raised fear over worsening food shortage arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and advised countries to handle the impending food insecurity with caution
According to Aljazeera, the crisis in Ukraine and Russia, one of the world’s main sources of grain, fertilisers and energy, presents new challenges in securing food supplies on top of a prolonged pandemic, a United Nations official said Thursday.
“We weren’t going well even before the pandemic, the hunger was rising slowly and then the pandemic hit,” said Gabriel Ferrero de Loma-Osorio, head of the Committee on World Food Security, a platform within the UN for the fight against hunger.
He told The Associated Press that an estimated 161 million more people are suffering from hunger than before the pandemic, totaling 821 million. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a heavy impact on the availability and prices of food, “so unfortunately, we will need to be cautious, but we can see an important impact on food security globally.”
He said countries need to be careful in handling their food security. Bangladesh, for instance, imports almost half its wheat from Ukraine and Russia.
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While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55 percent since a week before the invasion.
Russia and Ukraine combine for nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. Ukraine also is a major supplier of corn and the global leader in sunflower oil, used in food processing. The war could reduce food supplies just when prices are at their highest levels since 2011.
For countries like Nigeria that are the top of wheat importing countries, spending on importation will increase substantially.
For instance, Knoema, an international research firm, stated that the nation’s wheat imports quantity increased from 350,000 tonnes in 1971 to 650,000 tonnes in 2020 growing at an average yearly rate of 10.21 per cent with last year import hitting 6.5million tonnes value at $2.06 billion was (4.3 per cent) of the global total