The war in Ukraine has been going on now since February 24 and it shows no sign of ending soon. Russia currently controls about 20% of the country, mainly in the east and is pouring in new troops and equipment every day.
One of the side effects of the war has been a global rise in inflation and gas prices, which were already bad. There has also been a rise in food shortages and insecurity.
Now the United Nations (UN) is saying that a much larger food crisis is on the way courtesy of Russia. Here’s where they say it will hit hardest and what it will involve.
UN Secretary General Issues Warning
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced yesterday that the war in Ukraine is going to cause food supply issues to spiral out of control. He said that the “unprecedented wave” of starvation and poverty is currently just beginning to be felt.
As Guterres observed, the cost of food and basic supplies is close to “record highs” and that’s only going to get worse. The cost of fertilizer, which is key to agricultural production and high yields has also gone up by more than 100% in the past year.
This is causing “alarm” across the world, Guterres said, noting that without sufficient fertilizer the basic foods that keep world hunger at bay starting with wheat and corn are going to sharply decrease, along with rice.
Once this happens, the impact will soon be felt very strongly, with only the upper middle class and rich able to afford most food and anything but the very basics.
According to Guterres, the worst effects of the food crisis are going to be for “billions” of people living in Asia and many millions in South America.
here is a story for you to stop blaming Ukraine for an upcoming food crisis: my father is a farmer in Lviv region, a Western part of Ukraine near the Polish border. he had a lot of clients abroad and his produce in large amounts was transported by the Black sea. 1/
— Dariya Hutsalyuk 🇺🇦 (@readerwriternow) June 6, 2022
How Many People Will Lack Food?
This year is likely to be around 47 million who have a near-complete shut off of food supplies, according to the World Food Program (WFP).
Two key elements that could help turn this around, according to Guterres, are getting Russia’s fertilizer shipments back online and getting Ukraine’s wheat crops being shipped once again. He said that this needs to happen even though there’s a war, although it’s unclear how that would work.
Wars tend to disrupt supply lines and make shipment unsafe, which is why Ukraine’s shipments have been so fouled up. As for Russia, it’s unlikely to want to sell fertilizer to help out Europe that’s supplying weapons against it.
Indeed, Russia has put a powerful blockade at the Black Sea to stop Ukraine getting food out over the water, and the EU on the Polish border has seemed unwilling to allow Ukrainian goods in that way.
The end result is a stalemate, with huge amounts of corn, grains and sunflower oils trapped inside Ukraine and putting a chokehold on the world’s food supply.
Russia is manufacturing an artificial international food security crisis through the blockade of 🇺🇦 exports through Black Sea. It also expropriates foods from the occupied regions, which is reminiscent of Holodomor in 1930s when the Soviets made Ukrainians starve pic.twitter.com/K1qI6Ln7m6
— Tymofiy Mylovanov (@Mylovanov) April 29, 2022
The Bottom Line
Zelensky has said “millions will starve” if Russia doesn’t end its Black Sea blockade. The world’s food situation is not in a good place.