Russia's invasion of Ukraine drives global food insecurity

World Tuesday 15/March/2022 07:00 AM
Russia's invasion of Ukraine drives global food insecurity
Winter wheat harvested in the Krasnoarmiyske village in Donetsk.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could plunge the world's food supply into chaos, with rising prices and the inability of Ukrainian farmers to plant crops, including wheat.

Warning of "massive uncertainty" and global food insecurity should the war go on for some time, the IMF's Vladyslav Rashkovan, the alternate executive director for Ukraine on the IMF board, said events since the February 24 invasion meant that "the economy in Ukraine dramatically changed."

In a statement, Rashkovan said: "As of March 6, 202 schools, 34 hospitals, more than 1,500 residential houses including multi-apartment houses, tens of kilometers of roads, and countless objects of critical infrastructures in several Ukrainian cities have been fully or partially destroyed by Russian troops."

UN offers similar prognosis

From the Middle East to Latin America, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the war is impacting the world's most-vulnerable people because of the disruption in a country known as the breadbasket of the world.

Guterres said Monday that the "sword of Damocles hangs over the global economy, especially in the developing world." He added: "We must do everything possible to avert a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system."

Last week, Oleg Ustenko, economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, estimated the damage to the country's infrastructure at $100 billion (€91 billion) to date.

Russia to limit exports

Because of price hikes resulting from economic sanctions following Russia's invasion, the Kremlin will restrict exports of barley, rye, wheat, maize, mixed grains, sugar and brown sugar in order to ensure supplies for the domestic population.

The export restrictions will begin Tuesday and are currently in place until June 30.

Exceptions will apply to countries in the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, where Russia has unilaterally declared independence on behalf of its proxies.