As food prices continue to rise, UN warns of crippling global shortages: NPR

A combined harvester harvests wheat in a field in the Houla Valley near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on May 22, 2022. Wheat prices have risen in recent months, driven by the war in Ukraine and a severe heat wave in India.

Galaa Merhi/AFP via Getty Images


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Galaa Merhi/AFP via Getty Images


A combined harvester harvests wheat in a field in the Houla Valley near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on May 22, 2022. Wheat prices have risen in recent months, driven by the war in Ukraine and a severe heat wave in India.

Galaa Merhi/AFP via Getty Images

Fears of a global food crisis are growing due to the trauma of the war in Ukraine, climate change and rising inflation.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last week of “the specter of global food shortages in the coming months” without urgent international action.

The UN Estimates That in the past year, global food prices rose by about a third, fertilizers by more than half, and oil prices by about two thirds.

to me UN numbersThe number of severely food insecure people has doubled in the past two years, from 135 million people before the pandemic to 276 million today. Now, more than half a million people suffer from famine conditions, according to the United Nations, an increase of more than 500% since 2016.

In Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, the number of people facing severe hunger has more than doubled since last year, from about 10 million to more than 23 million today, according to the report. The report notes that in all three countries, a person is likely to die every 48 seconds from causes related to acute hunger caused by armed conflict, COVID-19, climate change and inflationary pressures exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

In India, a devastating heat wave has disrupted the country’s wheat crop, driving up commodity prices across the world. Earlier this month, as temperatures soared in The capital of Delhi hovering near 120 degrees Fahrenheitthe government announced Ban on wheat exports. The announcement helped push wheat prices to record levels.

Wheat prices have been hit hard by the war in Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s largest wheat producers, producing about 25% of the world’s supply. World wheat prices rose in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It actually rose an estimated 80% in just over a year before December 2021, According to the International Monetary Fund.

International shocks have brought some countries closer to collapse. in Sri LankaRising inflation led to a wholesale economic emergency, with severe shortages of food, medicine, and fuel.

Humanitarian agencies warned that so was Afghanistan close to starvation Months ago while Lebanon Economic crisis for more than a year.

In the United States, consumer prices rose in April 8.3% From the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Labor. food costs by 9.4%, with prices for things like meat, poultry, fish and eggs up 14.3% from a year earlier. In March, about 65% of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America Network, the nation’s largest food recovery organization, mentioned The demand for help increases month by month.

In China, fresh vegetable prices are 24% higher than they were a year ago, according to data Issued by the country’s National Statistics Office. China’s “zero COVID” policy has meant an economic slowdown, and has fueled inflation around the world and global supply chain issues.

Guterres of the United Nations urged a five-step plan to help address the challenges: increase food and fertilizer supplies; social protection systems within countries; more access to international finance; More government assistance to small food producers; and better funding for humanitarian operations to reduce starvation and hunger.

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