Wheat War: Ukraine Conflict Raises Hunger Fears
Umer Jamshaid Published July 05, 2022 | 09:20 AM
Paris, July 5 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 5th Jul, 2022 ) :Russia's invasion of agricultural power Ukraine has severely disrupted the global wheat market, prompting warnings that the conflict could lead to hunger in some countries.
"Everyone eats wheat, but not everyone is capable of producing it," says Bruno Parmentier, an economist and author of the book "Feeding Humanity".
Only around a dozen countries produce enough wheat to be able to export it, too.
There were several factors behind the increases: Energy prices soared as economies bounced back from Covid lockdowns, sending costs for nitrogen-based fertilisers higher.
The end of Covid restrictions also led to major disruptions to global supply chains as demand surged for all sorts of products.
In addition, a heatwave in Canada led to a dismal harvest in the country last year.
The higher costs are dramatic for developing countries. More than 30 nations depend on Russia and Ukraine for 30 percent of their wheat import needs, according to the UN food and Agriculture Organization.
Ukrainian farmers faced a dangerous planting season, with some having to work with flak jackets and rely on specialists to remove mines and other ordnance from fields.
Ukraine's wheat harvest is expected to fall by 40 percent this year, the country's grain association says.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has branded Russia's blockade as "blackmail", saying it was a deliberate strategy by Russian President Vladimir Putin to force the rest of the world "to give in to him" and drop sanctions on Moscow.
"In times of war, big producing countries literally hold the fate of others in their hands," Parmentier said.
Turkey has spearheaded efforts aimed at resuming grain deliveries across the Black Sea and said on June 22 that four-way talks with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations could be held in the coming weeks.