Ukraine reported an alarming decrease in grain exports Thursday and wheat prices reached record highs this week, the latest indicators of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatening food security for millions worldwide.
Grain exports from Ukraine are down 64% so far in May compared to the same timeframe last year, the country’s agriculture ministry said Thursday according to Interfax Ukraine.
Known as one of the world’s breadbaskets for its agricultural production, Ukraine accounted for 10% of global wheat exports in 2021, according to the United Nations, while Russia produced about 17% of all wheat globally.
Ukraine’s ports have suspended activities since the war launched due to Russian blockades, and the U.N. estimates about 20 million tons of harvested grain are stuck in the country.
The port blockades will cause millions to die if they continue, David Beasley, head of the United Nations World Food Programme, told CNN last week, as countries globally rely on Ukraine, also one of the leading exporters of corn and sunflower oil and meal, for basic nutrition needs.
Wheat futures rose to all-time highs this week after India restricted exports on the commodity amid a heatwave, and wheat prices have jumped more than 60% this year, contributing to what the UN estimates is a one-third jump in food prices globally in the last year.
Global hunger is at a “new high,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday, estimating “tens of millions” of people worldwide will “edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years.”
Beasley said Wednesday in a statement on Twitter: “Failure to open the ports in Ukraine will be a declaration of war on global food security…. It is absolutely essential that we allow these ports to open because this is not just about Ukraine; this is about the poorest of the poor around the world who are on the brink of starvation.”
About 13.6 million. That’s how many children worldwide are suffering from severe wasting, a form of malnutrition that significantly weakens immune systems, the UN children’s humanitarian agency said Tuesday, linking the “catastrophic” rise in malnutrition to the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wheat, fourth-largest exporter of corn and top exporter of sunflower oil and meal, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Countries worldwide rely on Ukraine for grain used for bread, pasta and packaged goods: Egypt is the top importer of Ukrainian wheat, and countries such as Lebanon and Pakistan get a majority of their wheat from Ukraine.
Ukrainian wheat serves a critical role in humanitarian efforts, as about half of the World Food Programme’s wheat comes from the country. [Forbes]
StrangeSounds.org is now running ad-free CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT MY WORK… I will send you a small gemstone if you give more than 25$… Thanks in advance!
Qfiles is another great site for alternative news and information…