The Global Food Crisis
What’s the one thing that we all have in common? It’s food. We need it, we enjoy it, and it brings us together.
But right now, accessing affordable and nutritious food is becoming more and more difficult as we find ourselves living in a global food crisis.
Millions upon millions of people—in fact, 345 million people today—are suffering from hunger at a crisis level. This year will be a year of unprecedented hunger.
The pandemic’s economic consequences play a huge part in hunger rising to unprecedented levels. At the same time, climate shocks continue to destroy lives, crops, and livelihoods and undermine people’s ability to feed themselves.
Meanwhile, conflict keeps waging war on everyday life. As the biggest driver of hunger, 60% of the world’s hungry live in areas afflicted by violence.
In Ukraine, the war has transformed what was the breadbasket of the world into a major humanitarian aid recipient.
- Global food crisis | World Food Programme
The world faces a global hunger crisis of unprecedented proportions. In just two years, the number of people facing, or at risk of, acute food insecurity increased from 135 million in 53 countries pre-pandemic, to 345 million in 82 countries today. F
Will There Be a Global Food Shortages In 2023?
The acceleration of already high food, fertilizer, and fuel prices have triggered the global crisis that could drive millions more into extreme poverty.
Magnifying hunger and malnutrition while threatening to raise the global humanitarian case load to new highs and erase hard-won development gains.
Food pricing is our number one problem right now as a result of this perfect storm for 2022. However, it is very likely that food availability will be a problem in 2023.
There are a variety of reasons for this oncoming hunger.
A typical example is the drought across the whole planet, and of course we can obviously wait for some rain to come or possibly implement some watering techniques, but at the end of the day it takes a lot of time and effort for all these things to actually happen.
On top of that, most farmers spend a lot of money every single year operating all the huge equipment that they need on the field.
These machines use a lot of diesel, and since fuel prices have also gone up, farmers take huge loans on a regular basis. These are short-term loans.
The further reserving problem here is that the loans have increased or are at a valuable interest rate. As a result of this, it’s making it difficult for the farmers to borrow and pay back the loans.
According to reports, loan interest alone is expected to be $26.5 billion for farmers this year. These are the people producing food for us, so if they cannot afford the loans, they’re probably not going to take them.
Fertilizers are becoming increasingly expensive as a result of supply chain issues, making them unsustainable for farmers to purchase.
Effects of the War
Before the war began, Ukraine produced enough food to feed 400 million people per year. But when the war started, all of Ukraine’s food exports fed 400 million people per year.
But when the war started, all of Ukraine’s food exports stopped, trapping corn and wheat inside the country. One interesting fact now is that our markets for exporting food are highly concentrated.
What this means is that less than 10 countries export 80 to 90% of total exports of crops like wheat, corn, rice, soy beans, etc. So when any shock happens to one of these 10 countries or fewer, we see a disproportionate effect around the world.
It’s likely you’re already feeling the impact of the food crisis, whether that’s seeing higher food prices during your weekly shop or finding limited supplies in the supermarket. Before the war in Ukraine started, prices of food commodities were already at a 10-year-high.
The prices of fuel commodities were already at a 7-year-high. And now, on top of that, because of the war, things are not moving as they were supposed to out of the Black Sea.
And this is troublesome not only for poor countries, but also for rich countries. Look at the United States: 8.5% inflation hasn’t happened in decades. Take a look at the UK at 10.1%, and all of this should tell us where we’re going.
So, if our advanced economies are already suffering, what is the point of discussing poor net food and fuel importers? When it comes to the world’s most vulnerable, the cost of the global food crisis will be measured in lives lost.
Almost every country in the Middle East and North Africa region has been hard hit by the war in Ukraine.
This is a region that’s highly dependent on food imports, especially grain inputs from Ukraine and Russia. 30% and more of the grain that comes to this region comes from Ukraine and Russia because of the geographical proximity.
There are many countries in the region that have had a big burden in terms of food prices because of the conflict in Ukraine. To give you an example, in a country like Syria, food prices increased by 37 percent from February to April 2022, and that was the onset of the conflict.
Even before the global food crisis, some families were already living on the edge.
Food Shortages in Syria
The Bigger Solution
The global food crisis we are facing is being worsened by the energy and fertilizer crises that are also occurring, leaving millions of people at risk of hunger and unable to afford basic meals.
We don’t want today’s affordability crisis to turn into or become tomorrow’s availability crisis. What I mean by this is that, today, if you have money, you can buy food.
But if you don’t sort out a few things right now, tomorrow, even if you have money, it won’t be enough to buy food. What are those things to sort out?
We need to make sure that the next agricultural season is a good one. This requires agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, and if that doesn’t happen, our affordability crisis, which is bad enough as we can see around the world, turns into an availability crisis.
Meaning that food will be even less affordable for millions upon millions of people around the globe.
Right now, WFP’s response focuses on three key things. Providing emergency food and cash and nutrition support to prevent millions from dying of hunger, supporting national social protection systems, and strengthening food systems.
It’s clear we all need to work together and fast in the face of today’s global food crisis.
The Bigger Immediate Solution
Start storing food, even though it would have been better if you had started earlier.
Store enough perishable foods, and if possible, don’t spend too much trying to buy food outside to eat. Save the little you have at the moment and use it to store as much food as possible.
This global food shortage is definitely not going to be a one-month or one-week trial test; it’s going to be six months or more, so make sure you do exactly that.
If you harden your heart and refuse to take this seriously, the further reserved issue will overwhelm you.
There have been numerous prophecies about this, and it’s time we take them seriously. Human predictions should also be considered at the moment.
Stay safe and stay vigilant about your own health. Thanks for reading to the end of this article, and if you found it useful, kindly share it with others.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2023 Aboah E Okyere