How is the crisis in Ukraine causing food shortages in developing countries?
The Russia-Ukraine war has escalated since it began in February. This has led to food shortages in developing countries around the world.
The stoppage of food exports from Ukraine has worsened the earlier conditions. There’s a widespread inflation in food prices throughout the world.
Post pandemic demand for food products, extreme weather conditions and export restrictions have badly affected the food market. This has also pushed Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index to an all-time-high, the highest it has been since the index began in 1990.
Somalia is facing an exceptional shortage of wheat stemming from the halted exports from Russia and Ukraine, as the export route through Black Sea has been shut down since the war started on 24th February.
According to the UN, East African countries have an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger resulting from continuing drought.
Bread is a staple of Egypt. The country relies on imported wheat to meet more than half of its daily wheat requirements. Russia and Ukraine provided 85% of the country’s imports in 2020-21.
Tunisia is also devastated by the financial crisis and is trying hard to deal with an inflation rate of over 6%. The price of wheat has increased up to 50 percent since the war began.
Russian President Vladimir Putin blames the west for the food crisis. In a conversation with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Putin stated: “(Russia) is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizer on the condition that politically motivated restrictions imposed by the West are lifted.”
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the conflict between Russia-Ukraine is set to further massive food, energy and economic crises. These crises will affect the poorer countries the most.