FAO warns of food crisis from conflict in Ukraine
Published: Mar 17, 2022 06:48 PM
The chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Maximo Torero, on Wednesday warned of the possible heavy toll of the Ukraine conflict on world food security.

To assess the potential impact on international food prices caused by a conflict-induced reduction in cereal and vegetable oil exports from Ukraine and Russia, simulations have been carried out, he said.

On the basis of their already elevated baseline values, wheat price would increase by 8.7 percent in a moderate-shock scenario and by 21.5 percent in a severe-shock scenario, he told reporters.

For maize, the increase would be 8.2 percent in the moderate case and 19.5 percent in the severe scenario. For ­other coarse grains, prices would rise by 7 to 19.9 percent, and for oilseeds by 10.5 to 17.9 percent, he said.

Globally, in terms of impacts on food security, in the moderate scenario, the number of undernourished people would increase by 7.6 million people, while this level would rise to 13.1 million people in the severe-shock setting, said Torero.

Moreover, additional upward pressure on fertilizer prices has stemmed from disruptions and high transportation costs following the imposition of export restrictions and due to sharp increases in bulk and container freight rates caused by the ­COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

International food prices had already reached an all-time high even before the conflict in Ukraine. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 140.7 points in February, up 3.9 percent from January, and 20.7 percent above its level a year earlier.