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Conflict in Ukraine is already impacting food security, UN agency warns


LONDON — The war in Ukraine is already driving up food prices and shortages of staple crops in parts of Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the International Food Fund said on Thursday. United Nations (UN) Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month drastically reduced shipments from the two countries, which together account for around 25% of global wheat exports and 16% of global corn exports, leading to soaring grain prices in markets. international.

According to IFAD, these are now affecting retail food prices in some of the world’s poorest countries. “The conflict in Ukraine, already a disaster for those directly involved, will also be a tragedy for the world’s poorest people living in rural areas. We are already seeing price increases,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD.

He warned that the hikes are expected to cause an escalation in hunger and poverty, with dire implications for global stability. Wheat prices are currently not far off the levels seen during the last food crisis of 2007 and 2008, which sparked protests in many developing countries and is widely seen as contributing to the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. .

Russia is also one of the world’s largest suppliers of fertilizer, the prices of which had already soared last year, contributing to a 30% rise in global food prices and a related rise in levels of hunger around the world. .

To help alleviate the crisis faced by poor rural people who produce around a third of the world’s food, IFAD said it would focus on interventions such as cash transfers, boosting remittances, creation of savings and credit groups and the granting of subsidies to agricultural enterprises. — Reuters