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Ukraine war could lead to global food shortage, escalate prices

The war may increase food prices up to 20 percent from the current level


A prolonged war in Ukraine could impact the production of grains and reduce food supplies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Russia has decalred that it would suspend grain exports to neighbouring ex-Soviet countries until the end of August to further strengthen its food security. Heatwave has already destroyed one-third of the country's wheat and other grains in the country.

Russian wheat exports have fallen by 45 percent since the start of the current July-June season due to smaller crop and grain export taxes and export quotas from 2021 to curb food inflation in Russia.

Russia and Ukraine combine for nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. Egypt and Turkey are heavily dependeent on wheat from Russia. 

Last year, more than 40 percent of Ukraine's wheat and corn were exported to Middle East or Africa. 

The war could also impact grain distribution for school meals by the World Food Programme of the UN, which is the largest humanitarian programme focused on hunger and food security. More than half of the grain it distributes all over the world is procured from Ukraine and Russia. 

The fertile farmlands of the Black Sea region, known as the 'breadbasket of the world,' is also a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil, which is used in cooking.

An increase in associated costs for packaging and transport would lead to further increas in the prices of essential goods.

While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55 percent since a week before the invasion amid concerns about what could happen next. If the war is prolonged, countries that rely on affordable wheat exports from Ukraine could face shortages starting in July, International Grains Council director Arnaud Petit told The Associated Press.

The United Nations food agency, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said in its report that the Ukraine war could increase food prices up to 20 percent from the current level.

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