Tuesday Jul 5, 2022
Tuesday Jul 5, 2022

Food prices soar to record levels on Ukraine war disruptions


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 08, 18:26, Rome
Smoke from an oil refinery rises over a field of sunflowers near the city of Lisichansk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine on July 26, 2014. Photo: AP

Prices for food commodities like grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever last month largely because of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the “massive supply disruptions” it is causing, threatening millions of people in Africa, the Middle East elsewhere with hunger and malnourishment, the United Nations said Friday.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said its Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February. As it is, the February index was at the highest level since its inception in 1990.

FAO said the war in Ukraine was largely responsible for the 17.1% rise in the price of grains, including wheat and others like oats, barley and corn. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for around 30% and 20% of global wheat and corn exports, respectively.

A private Ukrainian farmer Dmytro Hnatkevitch harvests wheat crops on his farm in the village of Grygorovka.
Photo: AP
A private Ukrainian farmer Dmytro Hnatkevitch harvests wheat crops on his farm in the village of Grygorovka. Photo: AP

While predictable given February’s steep rise, “this is really remarkable,” said Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of FAO’s markets and trade division. “Clearly, these very high prices for food require urgent action.”

The biggest price increases were for vegetable oils: that price index rose 23.2%, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil that is used for cooking. Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter of sunflower oil, and Russia is No. 2.

“There is, of course, a massive supply disruption, and that massive supply disruption from the Black Sea region has fueled prices for vegetable oil,” Schmidhuber told reporters in Geneva.

He said he couldn’t calculate how much the war was to blame for the record food prices, noting that poor weather conditions in the United States and China also were blamed for crop concerns. But he said, “logistical factors” were playing a big role.

“Essentially, there are no exports through the Black Sea, and exports through the Baltics are practically also coming to an end,” he said.

Soaring food prices and disruption to supplies coming from Russia and Ukraine have threatened food shortages in countries in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia where many people already were not getting enough to eat.

READ ALSO:

food commodities Grains vegetable oils United Nations malnourishment FAO Sunflower sunflower seed oil supply United States
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