The Russian invasion of Ukraine is intensifying the global food crisis, as more than 20 million tons of wheat is stranded on the shores of Ukraine due to the ship’s blockade in the region. However, three ships carrying more than 58,000 tons of corn started sailing the waters of the Black Sea and will reach the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Turkey in days to come. Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine in late February, this is the first grain shipment passing through the Black Sea region. This shipment was only made possible after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and Turkey brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine on July 22.
Under the deal, Russia will not attack the ships carrying food and fertilizers through the waters of the Black Sea. While this is a welcoming development in the midst of a war which has claimed hundreds of lives, it will only reduce food prices to a small extent in three nations: Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The other parts of the world, which are facing unparalleled food crises due to the Russia-Ukraine war, will continue facing the music.
Human rights watchdogs are worried about the global food crisis after seeing the latest edition of a United Nations report which was released by its five agencies, including the WHO, UNICEF and FAO. According to the report, a whopping 823 million people faced hunger in 2021, before the outbreak of the Ukraine war. Now, after the war, an additional 50 million people have been pushed into the hunger crisis, while the chronic food inflation worldwide will drag 19 million more people into hunger. The Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley, urged the Gulf Nations to come forward to “avert catastrophe” as forty-five countries are on the brink of famine.
Unfortunately, the existing food crisis is far worse than the 2008 financial depression and the 2012 worldwide food instability, which was one of the contributing factors behind the Arab spring revolution in the Middle East.
Food security analysts are already suggesting that failure to bring food inflation and hunger down will create unprecedented political tensions in different parts of the world. Many countries, including Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, are already witnessing political tensions due to the high food prices, which are likely to be intensified if the Ukraine war lingers on.
Apart from the Russia-Ukraine crisis, climate change is also contributing to the prevailing food crisis worldwide. In the Horn of Africa, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia are facing the fourth consecutive drought season, which has made local food growth impossible. Local insurgents are further aggravating the political crisis in Somalia, which is eventually pushing the country towards starvation.
In Afghanistan, the situation is no different, as food insecurity is at an all-time high since the haphazard withdrawal of the United States last year.
EarthDaily Analytics obtained food growth data from satellite imagery in Morocco and predicted a “catastrophic wheat season” ahead. Morocco imports 20 % of its wheat from Ukraine and 40 % from France, which is itself suffering the life-changing impacts of historic droughts.
Corp analyst at EarthDaily Analytics, Mickael Attia, has warned that France is also likely to produce 8 % less wheat this year, which will ultimately impact the food stability in many African nations. Furthermore, Ukraine, which is the fifth-largest exporter of wheat, will see a 40 % reduction in its heat yield this year due to the ongoing Russian aggression, Attia added.