Opinion: Amid the Ukraine Invasion, We Must Avert the Next Food Crisis

Food insecurity is rising across the globe amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The two countries collectively export approximately 25% of the world’s wheat. Russia is also a significant contributor to the fertilizer industry, accounting for 13% of global output.

Changes in exports, coupled with the rising fuel prices, will invariably affect food manufacturers’ processing and transportation costs, and this will make even the most basic food, like bread, unaffordable. Governments, global food and trading companies, and the development sector must undertake urgent collaborations to minimize the impact of these compounding effects on the most vulnerable in our communities.

There are three critical steps that these entities can take now to curb a food crisis, taking lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2007-2008 world food crises. Back then, commodity prices dramatically increased, leading to riots in many cities around the world. Meanwhile, global food companies and commodity traders experienced historic revenue growth and profitability amid the hardship that affected the most vulnerable. This time, we must do better.

First, all governments must share data on their food reserves for priority value chains — which, as of the early months of this year, include wheat, maize, rice, sugar, and soy — and the expected output from upcoming harvests.

Read more: Devex

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