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Currently, around 811 million people around the world are going hungry, while over 2 billion people suffer from malnutrition. After the global food crisis began to decline for a decade or so, the issues are on the rise again, affecting around 9.9 percent of the population worldwide.
The prices of staple crops like rice, wheat, and other grains to sunflower oil and vegetables are increasing across the world as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts pressure on an already damaged food system. Even the prices of fertilizers used to grow the crops are increasing. Rising energy prices are making it tougher to transport commodities from one place to another.
According to Friederike Greb, an economist in the World Food Programme’s monitoring division and research assessment, if the prices of food products increase by 15 per cent within a year and an individual spends more than half of their income on food, It is a huge effect. Currently, the commodity market price situation is complicated, along with everything else the world is dealing with.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine clearly worsened the global food crisis. However, it is not only the war in Ukraine that’s aggravating the situation. Climate change also plays a major role, especially in affecting the world’s vulnerable and poor populations. Climate change has affected agricultural production worldwide, from Asia to America. As climate change worsens, so will the global food crisis.
In 2021, approximately 139 million people faced a crisis of acute food insecurity across 24 countries and territories where insecurity and conflict were considered the main driver. During the Covid pandemic, in 2020, around 118 million more people became victims of food insecurity compared to 2019.
According to the World Bank, global wheat supply will likely decline again as grain in Ukraine- which exported 10 per cent of global wheat supply in 2021- remains trapped in ports blocked by Russian forces. Even fertilizer prices have doubled in the past year.
The world is not witnessing a food shortage but an affordability issue. There is enough food to supply the global population. However, most people cannot afford it.
Grain and oil prices have risen by more than a third in the past year, while prices of other food products have increased by 30 per cent, according to the World Bank. These prices will start to affect the lives of people from lower-income countries.
The United Nations, G-7, Multilateral development banks, and other international institutions have established plans to tackle rising prices and provide food aid to starving people. However, reducing food prices and avoiding food shortages requires much more effort and planning from global communities.