THE WAR IN UKRAINE FUELS A GLOBAL FOOD AND CLIMATE CRISIS


According to the research data from the World Resources Institute, Ukraine is among the second most risky regions of the world in terms of drought risk, while Moldova ranks first.

The Ukraine-Russia war has also exacerbated the food crisis for many countries, especially in the Middle East and Africa. With the increasingly dramatic consequences of climate change and the Coronavirus epidemic, global hunger is now on a red alert all over the world.

Ukraine and Russia are considered the granaries of Europe. While these two countries meet about 30 percent of the world's wheat needs; maize is among the largest exporters of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. Since the war began, Russia has severely restricted its wheat exports, while Ukraine now exports almost nothing to guarantee its own production. Agriculture in northern Ukraine has almost completely collapsed, while farmers cannot reach their fields due to a shortage of fertilizers and fuel. This causes people whose livelihood is agriculture to flee to other parts of the country or are recruited into the military.

While the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that export restrictions could increase food and feed prices in the world market by 22%, rising food prices, especially for bread, have already led to widespread protests in North African countries.

 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that the period awaiting us in the future is a “Hurricane of Hunger” and warned of the global consequences of the war that affect the whole world. Guterres stated that the war is not just a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it is an attack on the world's most helpless and vulnerable people and countries.

 

45 underdeveloped countries in the world such as Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen import one-third of their wheat needs from Russia and Ukraine. Many of these were countries that were already in need of humanitarian aid and struggling to reach food sources, and are now in the grip of an even greater hunger crisis.

For example, Madagascar, which has been struggling with drought and climate crisis for a long time, imported 75% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, now it is almost inaccessible to wheat.

In Tunisia, which buys about 40% of its wheat from Ukraine, prices are increasing day by day. As the country's debt increased day by day in parallel with the situation, the Tunisian Government asked for financial assistance from the IMF.

Lebanon, which also supplies 75% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, is desperately looking for different sources but has not yet found a definitive solution. Likewise, the effects of the war are felt in Burkina Faso and Mali.

According to the data of the UN World Food Program (WFP), the number of people who cannot access basic food and starve in the Sahel Africa region, along with climate change and the COVID-19 epidemic, has increased approximately 10 times in 2022. In Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda, which are described as the Horn of Africa, 13 million people are already suffering from hunger.

Egypt and Turkey, which receive significant resources from Russian and Ukrainian grain, are grappling with rapidly rising inflation. Sunflower oil shortage in Europe forces suppliers to look for alternatives. In UK supermarkets, customers can now buy a certain percentage of oil. This is causing vegetable oil prices to soar in India, where street vendors steam food instead of frying it. There is a significant increase in demand for palm oil, which is harmful to human health and causes the climate crisis.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russia, an important grain exporter, deliberately targeted agricultural lands and destroyed equipment and storage facilities by placing mines in the fields. These claims were confirmed by the European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, who said he would help Ukrainian farmers.

 

Currently, only a limited amount of grain and other products can be transported by rail, as Russia is blocking the Black Sea ports in Ukraine and bombarding vital infrastructure. Ukraine, on the other hand, demands river barges and trucks from Europe to sustain declining exports.

The world is now; While Ukraine is making a significant effort to find alternative supplies for countries that depend on sunflower oil and animal feed, some UK supermarkets and restaurants are considering replacing sunflower oil with palm oil and pushing prices to record highs.

 

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said in her latest statement, "We are facing the most serious high cost of living ever." is doing.

 

While COVID-19 quarantines, stockpiles, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, political conflicts, and other pressures seem to keep the long-existing but now red-alarm food crisis on the agenda for a long time, global supply chain issues are getting worse.

The solution is for the countries to make a joint decision together…



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