One step from global hunger

How will Russia’s war against Ukraine affect the global food security?

Is the world ready to watch the growing number of starving people worldwide as it is watching the growing number of victims in Ukraine? Is it possible to grow crops in fields where not sowing but bloody harvests are taking place now?

Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on for 21 days. So far, most of the progressive world has joined the political and economic sanctions against the aggressor country, Russia. Some countries support Ukraine by providing weapons and equipment, supporting civilians, refugees and displaced persons, and providing financial assistance. Each country, as well as the world at large, has different reasons and motives, their confidence or doubts, perhaps even fears, about helping or refusing to help Ukraine.

Besides its gratitude, the Ukrainian government continues to call on the world to take even tougher action, tighten sanctions and increase military aid, and rightly so. Ukraine is deeply integrated into the global economy, and given its exports, Ukraine cannot be painlessly removed from the global context, especially because of its share in the global food market.

According to a study by Oxfam, an international organization that aims to address poverty and injustice around the world, 11 people died of hunger and malnutrition every minute in 2021. The reasons for this were the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, food access problems, poverty, and war…

In total, about 55 countries and territories around the world, with a population of almost 135 million people, are severely deficient in food and require urgent help. Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Nigeria, and Haiti are the hardest hit. The latest analysis by the WFP, a UN agency, shows that in 2021, 41 million people in 43 countries are on the verge of starvation, compared to 27 million two years ago.

But all these studies were conducted in 2021…

The latest analysis by the WFP, a UN agency, shows that in 2021, 41 million people in 43 countries are on the verge of starvation, compared to 27 million two years ago.

2022 changed everything, and unfortunately not for the better.

 The war, launched by the Kremlin in 2014, has grown into a full-scale invasion, although Putin calls it a “special operation,” and has taken on the image and character of a war of annihilation. In Putin’s view, nothing should be an obstacle to achieving his goals.

Unsuccessful, and hopeless attempts to encircle and seize Ukraine’s largest cities have apparently driven Putin mad, and as a result, attempts to seize cities have turned into attempts to destroy them.

The result of this senseless freebooting is thousands of dead and disabled Ukrainians, tens of thousands of dead and disabled Russians.

Also, millions of refugees. Millions of people have left their jobs in search of a safe place, and this is tens of thousands of people who will not sow fertile Ukrainian farmlands this spring.

How will Russia’s war against Ukraine affect the global food security?

 In general, Ukraine accounts for almost 14% of the global food market and, according to the US Department of Agriculture, is the world’s second largest grain exporter.

 In general, Ukraine accounts for almost 14% of the global food market and, according to the US Department of Agriculture, is the world’s second largest grain exporter.

It is currently impossible to predict the economic consequences of this war for Ukraine and the world, but it is clear that the forecasts are deteriorating day by day.

Russia’s invasion of the territory of Ukraine makes it impossible to start the tillage and the grain sowing campaign in many key Ukrainian regions. The situation is exacerbated by the destruction of logistics chains, which will lead to a reduction of the size of sown areas, and as a consequence, on future harvests. The president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club Alex Lissitsa says: “Even if Ukraine is able to till and saw this year, it will be to cover a maximum of 30% of the planned area; the most optimistic scenario is 50%…. The same applies to winter crops that need to be cultivated and fertilized, and this is next to impossible now.

For Ukraine itself, all this looks less of a death sentence, because Ukraine will provide itself with food even with 30% of the planned harvest. It is possible thanks to transitional stocks from 2021.

The president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club Alex Lissitsa says: “Even if Ukraine is able to till and saw this year, it will be to cover a maximum of 30% of the planned area; the most optimistic scenario is 50%

But the situation is much worse for other countries. The largest importers of Ukrainian agribusiness are China, India, the Netherlands, Egypt, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Indonesia, Germany, Italy, as well as poor countries in Africa and Asia.

For example, Yemen, a country that is almost entirely dependent on food imports, buys at least 27% of its wheat in Ukraine. At the same time, half of the country’s 30 million people are already starving.

Ukraine supplies a half of all wheat consumed in Lebanon, a country that is economically dependent on bread as its staple. Libya imported 43% of grain products from Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine provided about 20% of wheat in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

According to some estimates, the price of wheat on the world market under current conditions could double.

Against the background of insufficient food supply and the rising food prices, there may be a serious aggravation of the military-political situation and mass riots in countries such as Egypt and Algeria in the near future.

As regards corn, this crop is among Ukraine’s top three exports, along with wheat and sunflower oil. Ukrainian corn accounts for 16% of world trade. Corn export prices have already risen by 6% on February 24, and that was only the first day of the Russian war against Ukraine. The largest importers of Ukrainian corn are the European Union, China, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.

The largest importers of Ukrainian corn are the European Union, China, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.

Corn export prices have already risen by 6% on February 24, and that was only the first day of the Russian war against Ukraine. The largest importers of Ukrainian corn are the European Union, China, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.

 “Although China is playing up to Russia politically, it is interested in ending the conflict sooner, because otherwise, it will threaten its food security. It is impossible to determine how long they can last without our corn, but every day of the war is a loss for China,” said Serhiy Fursa, deputy director of Dragon Capital, an investment company.

We should not forget that Ukraine is a leader in the export of sunflower oil. It accounted for 46.7% of world exports in 2020-2021. Shipments of sunflower oil stopped at the beginning of the Russian invasion, and now buyers are trying to find an alternative – both in terms of seed supply and other vegetable oils. This is not so simple, because it is impossible to replace almost half of the world’s supplies in the short term. At the same time, prices for palm and soybean oils reacted by 13% and 21% increase, respectively.

It is worth noting that while the Ukrainian agricultural fields are mostly worked by men who are now resisting and destroying the enemy on the battlefield, the Ukrainian women work on farms and dairies, and they are leaving the country. This heralds a decline in the production of meat and dairy products, which have also been exported by Ukraine.

It is worth noting that while the Ukrainian agricultural fields are mostly worked by men who are now resisting and destroying the enemy on the battlefield, the Ukrainian women work on farms and dairies, and they are leaving the country. This heralds a decline in the production of meat and dairy products, which have also been exported by Ukraine.

Military action in Ukraine affected the rise in world food prices even before the tillage and sowing campaign. But the blockade of Ukrainian trading ports by Russian warships makes any supply impossible, even if basic foodstuffs exports are available in theory. Therefore, governments around the world are beginning to consider action options in the event of a global food crisis.

Whereas European countries are able to withstand the price hike shock,

the countries of Africa and Asia are likely to be even more immersed in the horrors of famine, unrest, war, and refugees. The refugees’ only desire will be to feed the dying children.

Apparently, the year of 2022 returns the world to a lower level of the Maslow pyramid, namely to its base where there is the physiological level of needs.

Almost a century after the horrific and tragic ordeal of the Holodomor genocide, Ukraine has become a World Breadbusket once again, not a country from which food is exported to enrich the “ruling party”, but a country that can guarantee food security for itself and its partners.

However, just like 90 years ago, Russia, the authoritarian monster with painful geopolitical fantasies, is once again launching rivers of blood in Europe, forcing millions of people around the world to starvation. Russia has never paid attention to the life and well-being of its own people. The Russians themselves are the fuel and oil for the machine of terror. So, why should they care about the fate of other nations?

Russian propaganda feeds Russians daily with myths about the terrible impoverishment of the world around its borders, and creates a picture that makes the average Russian happy. They are happy that there are places where people live worse than them.

And the more the world plunges into a famine and war, the easier it will be for the Kremlin to work on the antithesis, accusing the collective West of impoverishing the world and glorifying its leader and the policies it pursues.

In September 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations approved a plan to achieve a common better future.

Under the plan, by 2030, countries have agreed to end hunger, all forms of malnutrition, including reaching internationally agreed targets by 2025 for tackling growth retardation and depletion in children under five, and meet the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.

Unfortunately, in the case of Russia, its actions, as always, are diametrically opposed to its statements and declarations. The whole world is being held hostage to its aggressive policy.

Should this world itself tolerate this, confining itself to “deep concern”? Aren’t millions of lives saved from starvation worth more decisive action to stop the aggressor?

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