World has wheat supply for 10 weeks, expert tells UN Security Council: ‘This is seismic’

NOVOVORONTSOVA, UKRAINE – MAY 6: Wheat is stacked in a granary that was bombed earlier by Russian forces on May 6, 2022 near the front lines in Kherson Oblast in Novovorontsovka, Ukraine. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

An expert on food insecurity told United nations Security Council this week.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine said Sarah Minker, CEO of Gro Intelligence, a global company that uses artificial intelligence and public and private data to predict food supply trends.

“This is not my period. This is seismic,” Munkar said. During a special meeting of the UN Security Council. “Even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem would not go away any time soon without concerted action.”

Before the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the two countries provided a third of the world’s wheat exports combined and were among the top five exporters of corn. Besides the widespread shortage of fertilizers, supply chain issues And drought recordMunkar said the world has nearly 10 weeks of wheat on hand.

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Sarah Minker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence Inc. , during the Bloomberg New Economic Forum in Singapore, on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Photograph: Bryan van der Beek / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Without aggressive global action, we run the risk of an extraordinary amount of human suffering and economic damage,” Munkar said.

War threatens global food supplies

Russia claims that More than 10,000 penalties The country is faced with its aggression towards Ukraine, which has disrupted roads, obstructed Russian ships from delivering goods and restricted commercial transactions due to banking difficulties.

city ​​police Anthony Blinken He said these allegations are false.

“The decision to arm the food is the decision of Moscow and Moscow alone,” Blinken said. “Sanctions don’t close Black Sea ports, trap ships full of food, and destroy Ukrainian roads and railways; Russia is too. Sanctions don’t empty Ukrainian granaries and steal Ukrainian agricultural equipment; Russia is too.”

Blinken said Sanctions imposed by the United States And many other countries do not prevent Russia from exporting foodstuffs and fertilizers because they exclude exports of foodstuffs, fertilizers and seeds. “We work with countries every day to make sure that they understand that sanctions are not preventing the flow of these materials,” he said.

UN Food Coordinator David Beasley warned the Security Council that the war in Ukraine had created an “unprecedented crisis” of rising food prices that had already led to protests, riots and rising hunger. The crisis could add at least 47 million people to the 276 million who “walked toward starvation” before the Russian invasion of its smaller neighbour.

Related: Biden sees bigger role for US farms over Ukraine war

The Executive Director of the World Food Program said that 49 million people in 43 countries are “knocking on the door of famine”.

Beasley noted that when food prices spiraled out of control in 2007 and 2008, more than 40 countries faced political turmoil, riots and protests.

“We are already seeing riots and protests happening as we speak… Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan and Peru,” he said. “We have already seen destabilizing dynamics in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. These are just signs of things to come.”

Beasley urged world leaders to do everything in their power to “restore markets to stability because things are only going to get worse.”

What causes global food insecurity?

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A man carries a bag of wheat during a food distribution in Atay, Ethiopia (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Minker said the global food crisis can be traced back to five factors that “happen simultaneously”. Taken together, they create “unprecedented” challenges that will affect the world’s food supply for several years.

  • Fertilizer shortage: Fertilizer prices have nearly tripled over the past year — and quadrupled in the past two years — thanks to supply chain issues, Menker said, natural gas restrictions Export Restrictions Amid the Russo-Ukrainian War. Minker said fertilizer shortages could significantly reduce crop yields for major suppliers such as the United States, Brazil and Western Europe later this year and into next, “severely affecting global food security and inflation for at least three to five years.” .
  • Climate change: my world drought conditions Minker said wheat is the worst in 20 years around the world. “Major breadbaskets”, such as the United States and Brazil, the world’s two largest exporters of agricultural products, are experiencing severe droughts.
  • Cooking oil shortageThe price of palm oil has nearly tripled in the past two years, Minker said, and the world has lost 75% of its sunflower oil exports due to the war in Ukraine. China has also significantly increased the amount of cooking oil it imports.
  • Cereal shortageBefore the conflict began, Russia and Ukraine accounted for a third of the world’s wheat exports. Now, the world is seeing record low levels of grain as well as fertilizer shortages, supply chain issues and drought.
  • Supply Chain / Logistics BottlenecksThe supply chain problems wrought by the pandemic were exacerbated by the Russo-Ukrainian war. “All Ukrainian ports are still closed, making it impossible to transport any of Ukraine’s harvested grain across its borders,” Minker said. “Switching to rail would move less than 10% of the flow before the war. That’s not enough.”

“It’s a once-in-a-generation event that could dramatically reshape the geopolitical age,” Minker said. “We cannot solve the problem of food insecurity at the national level anywhere. And while the next few years are likely to be difficult, we can coordinate a global response.”

This story was reported from Seattle. The Associated Press contributed.

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