Putin’s War May Lead to the Worst World Food Crisis in Decades
As the Russian army continues to tighten its grip on Ukraine, concerns over plausible protracted consequences of Putin’s war have already begun to take form as real costs to communities living beyond the region’s breached and battered borders.
Food prices were already high before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Now, a global food crisis looms as an additional debt to lengthen the addendum of Putin’s long list of offences and war crimes — except that, naturally, he won’t be the one who pays it.
The biggest weight will be borne by the people of nations already struggling to bear the burden imbedded by COVID-19, ongoing civil conflicts, and the growing qualms of climate change, where the rising prices of dietary staples are quickly outpacing the limits of affordability.
At least 50 countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for a third or more of their wheat supply, and among those most reliant are namely lower-income nations across North Africa and the Middle East, wherein the commodity holds a place of cultural importance and builds the bulk of a daily diet’s basis.
Bread is a life-line and it’s quickly becoming too expensive.
Even before Putin orchestrated the first unapologetic advance of his brigade of aggression into Ukraine, the price of wheat in Egypt had risen nearly 80% between April 2020 and December 2021. With much of the country’s imports coming directly from Ukraine and Russia, subsidies that once existed to safeguard citizens against the inaccessibility of standard food staples are now failing to limit price hikes.
The situation is similar in Lebanon and Tunisia, where economic turmoil has mounted as a result of COVID-19 and government debts.
In Yemen — a nation that has itself been overwhelmed by war since 2014 and continues to report undernutrition as a leading cause of child mortality amid the conditions of conflict — the consequences will be catastrophic.
Bread is presumed to constitute more than half of the caloric intake for an average household, and with more than a third of Yemen’s imported wheat coming directly from Russia and Ukraine, supply cuts and increased costs will translate inevitably to a mounting…