Friday, May 20, 2022

Why is the Ukraine conflict aggravating world hunger?

 The war in Ukraine has consequences for daily food consumption. North African nations, in particular, are feeling the effects directly.

Photo by Pixabay: pexel.com


The Ukraine conflict has worsened the global food situation, thereby causing hunger. This is due to the fact that grain is becoming scarcer and consequently more expensive, as well as bread. Two of the world's largest exporters of grain are involved in the conflict. According to Tobias Heidland of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, this can lead to fatal situations in countries such as Egypt, but also in others in North Africa.

The professor utilized mathematical models to examine the war's potential impact on the near future. Heidland predicts that the initial supply will be much more limited. Economic adjustment effects, such as other countries increasing their production to compensate for the loss and the resulting further changes in the agricultural market, will not occur for at least a year, and possibly much longer. Heidland states that farmers require a lead time for such changes. Crop rotations must be observed in order to prevent soil erosion. Frequently, it is impossible to switch immediately.

Even in Germany, food prices are already on the rise. Sunflower oil is in short supply on some shelves. More than a quarter of the world's sunflower seeds are produced in Ukraine. However, in Germany, rising prices no longer cause a hunger crisis. The professor states that this was true during the industrial revolution 150 years ago. Today, the average percentage of a household's income spent on food and beverages is 10.3 percent. If food prices were to increase by 10 percent, it would be easier to find savings elsewhere. According to Heidland, in a country like Egypt, the situation is entirely different. There, the average proportion of a household's income spent on food is significantly higher. Consequently, price increases have much more severe effects.

Egypt is home to megacities like Cairo and a substantial urban population. According to Heidland, the nation can no longer provide for its own food needs. Before 2000 years ago, Egypt was still one of the Roman Empire's breadbaskets. Today, the country imports its own grain. Heidland states that grain imports from Ukraine and Russia have increased steadily over the past several decades. Because both countries are close together, produce a great deal, and are easily accessible by sea, namely the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. However, the war is now causing production losses. These two countries can no longer be cultivated in war zones. 

According to Heidland, there are also reports that Russian troops have mined fields. In addition, Ukraine can no longer export grain via maritime transport. In addition, the alternate train route to Romania is being bombed. Additionally, Russia has reduced its exports, according to Heidland. Food and grain are exempt from international trade sanctions; however, many shipowners no longer visit Russian ports.


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