Poorer countries in northern Africa, Asia and the Middle East that depend heavily on wheat imports risk suffering significant food security due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The conflict is poised to drive up already soaring food prices across the globe, the U.N. food agency warned on Friday.
Ukraine and Russia, which is under heavy economic sanctions for invading their neighbour account for one-third of global grain exports.
With the conflict’s intensity and duration uncertain, “the likely disruptions to agricultural activities of these two major exporters of staple commodities could seriously escalate food insecurity globally when international food and input prices are already high and vulnerable,” said Qu Dongyu, director-general of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization.
In the statement, Qu said it was not clear if Ukraine’s farmers will be able to harvest wheat ready for the market in June. In Ukraine, “massive population displacement has reduced the number of agricultural labourers and workers. Accessing agricultural fields would be difficult,” Qu noted.