UN says global food crisis is about affordability, not availability

Food prices remain high as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on, exacerbating existing pressures from supply chain disruptions and climate change.

Arif Husain, chief economist for the United Nations World Food Program, said the war had “added fuel to the already burning fire”.

Ukraine is a major producer of commodities such as wheat, corn and sunflower oil. Although exports globally have been limited due to Russia’s aggression, Mr. Husain said that the global food crisis is not caused by food availability but by rising prices.

“This crisis is about affordability, which means food is available, but prices are really high,” he said on CNBC.Capital connection“in Monday.

Based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global food prices in July were 13% higher than a year ago. And prices may continue to rise. In the worst case scenario, the UN estimates global food prices could rise 8.5% by 2027.

Fertilizer prices are also increasing, contributing to food prices costs are passed on to the consumer. Price increased after Russia – accounting for about 14% of global fertilizer exports – export restrictions. That has reduced crop yields.

That, combined with high energy prices and supply chain disruptions, will affect responsiveness, said Mari Pangestu, Executive Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank. of the World Bank on an increase in food production over the next two years. All that uncertainty could keep prices high beyond 2024, she said.

While the UN’s Husain thinks the current crisis is largely rooted in issues of high prices and affordability, he says it could turn into a food supply crisis if the problem fertilizer is not resolved.

According to Husain, the United Nations estimates that the number of people in a “famine emergency,” which it defines as one step away from hunger, has increased from 135 million in 2019 to 135 million in 2019. 345 million people.

Heat wave in China

Extreme weather and climate change are also exacerbating global food insecurity. China, the world’s largest wheat producer, has suffered from several episodes of unsettled weather, ranging from flash floods to severe drought.

Earlier this month, water promulgate the first state of drought emergency as the central and southern provinces suffered weeks of intense heat, with temperatures in dozens of cities exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat wave hampered crop production and posed a danger dangerous for pets.

“Rice production is certainly very vulnerable to changes in weather temperatures,” said Bruno Carrasco, general manager of sustainability and climate change at the Asian Development Bank. “When we look at the overall food production supply in Asia-Pacific, about 60 percent of it is rainwater farming.”

He added: “We are very concerned about the overall weather phenomena we have seen and observed during the year.

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