Unresolved Russia-Ukraine Conflict Amplifies Global Food Crisis, Putting Millions at Risk

The world is witnessing the ongoing Russia – Ukraine conflict, which has completed nearly 400 days. During this time period, the food crisis globally has worsened. There are multiple reasons for the food crisis but the conflict between these two nations has been by far the most important one. While various global leaders have expressed concerns over the issue, yet no one has been able to predict the outcome of this difference.

According to the 2023 Global Report on Food Crises, published on 3rd May, a total of 58 nations & 258 million people experienced food crises globally. Furthermore, countries like Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen experienced the highest levels of malnutrition. Making them the most affected countries in history, as explained in the report.

Ukraine has been a strong advocate for international food security. It is a significant producer of grains worldwide. Wheat, maize, and barley are the principal crops and exports of the nation. According to the European Commission, Ukraine accounts for 10% of the world wheat market, 15% of the corn market, and 13% of the barley market. With more than 50% of world trade, it is also the leading player in the sunflower oil market.

We can see that during the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Russia’s sabotage of Ukraine’s exports caused food prices to soar to previously unheard-of heights throughout the world.

To control the situation five months after the war started, a deal was signed on 22nd July 2022 between Ukraine and Russia that helped to bring down prices and ease a global food crisis. The deal was named Black sea grain. The deal was to take the Initiative on safely transporting grain and food supplies from Ukrainian ports. It was an agreement of Ukraine and Russia made with Turkey and the United Nations during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. This agreement allows Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The initial contract was supposed to end on 19th November 2022. However, following mediation, Russia restored the accord after temporarily suspending it due to a drone attack on Russian Navy ships in another region of the Black Sea. On 17th November 2022, the UN and Ukraine declared that the agreement had been extended for 120 days. In March of that year, Turkey and the UN stated that they had obtained a second extension for at least 60 days.

The agreement was extended in May 2023 for 60 days, ending on 18th July. By mid-May 2023, more than 950 trips carrying more than 30 million tonnes of grain and other food goods had successfully departed Ukrainian ports for more than 40 nations. These extensions were made to handle the situation of food crises across the world. After these extensions, inflation in the price of food was controlled, and countries facing food scarcity were supplied with tonnes of food grains.

The current global negotiations in maintaining the deal have helped in keeping the prices under control, but in the future, if Russia disagrees with the black sea grain deal, this would create numerous issues with many countries. It could trigger a bigger food crisis resulting in scarcity of food within many countries across the globe. The world needs to look for alternative solutions to this issue to meet its future requirements.


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