Russian War in World’s ‘Breadbasket’ Threatens Food Supply

Photo credit: Bloomberg

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has threatened the breadbasket of the world. The world is bracing for the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine and what it will do to the global food supply.

Experts on global food security have said that Russia’s war is not only jeopardizing the lives of Ukraine’s citizens but also on track to cause a surge in severe malnutrition and even starvation around the globe. 

Ukraine has long been considered a “breadbasket” due to its very rich soil. 

On its own, Russia produces approximately 15 percent of the fertilizer used around the world. Ukraine also produces 16 percent of the world’s corn. Together, Russia and Ukraine make up about 80 percent of the sunflower oil supply for the world, which is used for cooking. Both countries are also key wheat producers, making up about 30 percent of the global market, with Ukraine accounting for 12 percent of the world’s total wheat exports. 

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa rely heavily on Ukraine for corn and wheat. Countries like Lebanon and Egypt are particularly reliant on the region. 

Wheat and corn prices have already surged amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Consumers are facing higher prices for products made with both supplies, and there could be much more pain in sight as global supplies grow even tighter. Wheat prices skyrocketed nearly 40 percent, and corn prices have surged 21 percent, just so far this year. 

This all means that severe malnutrition and starvation could soon be seen around the world. Grim assessments from experts point to how heavily the rest of the world relies on Ukraine and Russia for a slew of essential commodities, including wheat. 

Food prices, already at record levels, will go up even higher as the supply is cut off. There has not yet been a global disruption to wheat supplies, but with prices surging a whopping 55 percent since the week before the invasion, there are growing concerns about what comes next.  

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