The Ukraine Invasion Could Cause a Global Food Crisis — How Will This Affect the Maldives?

The United Nations has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could cause a global food crisis that may possibly last for years.

The Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres stated that the war had worsened the food insecurity in poorer nations due to skyrocketing prices. He also indicated that some countries could face long term famines if Ukraine’s exports are not restored to what it was prior to the war.

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Russia and Ukraine produce about 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply. Ukraine is often dubbed the world’s ‘bread basket’, exporting 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports. The conflict between the two countries has caused supplies from Ukraine ports to be cut off from the rest of the globe, which has led to a drainage in the amount of cooking oil as well as cereals such as maize and wheat.

The consequent reduction in global supply of these goods has caused prices to spike significantly. Global food prices are now almost 30 percent higher than this time last year according to the UN. Due to the rising prices of commodities, the world is currently facing the greatest global food security crisis of our time.

In the context of the Maldives, our nation depends heavily on imported goods to feed our populace. The effects of this global food security crisis are likely to reverberate through our islands, the fallout arriving via several vectors such as higher commodity prices, economic damage, and impacts on overall nutrition.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is the power of policymakers in responding effectively to catastrophes. A potential global food crisis is no different. Policymakers in the Maldives will need to be vigilant—and make careful course corrections—in their response to rising inflation. 

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