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Global Food Crisis Worsens as Countries Ban Exports

by Madison Miller
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Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on since February 24. In addition to terrorizing and killing civilians of Ukraine, destroying parts of the land, and attempting to take over key cities, the shockwaves of this attack are felt around the world.

Countries around the world are voicing their support for the people of Ukraine. Not only that, but many are taking direct measures to cut ties with Russia. The goal in many instances is to put Russia through financial hardship to potentially bring an end to the conflict.

This comes with repercussions. For example, gas prices are increasing in the U.S. after President Joe Biden announced that there is a ban on all Russian oil imports. Companies and businesses are individually cutting ties as well, such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Apple.

Now, a global food crisis threatens the world.

At a Glance

  • Russia and Ukraine make up a third of the world’s supply of wheat and barley
  • Indonesia has placed restictions on certain items, such as palm oil exports
  • Europe, Asia, and Africa rely heavily on Black Sea region’s products
  • Ukraine limits exports to prevent a humanitarian crisis

Looking Into the Global Food Shortage

According to Reuters, this crisis took a turn for the worse today after Indonesia put certain restrictions on palm oil exports. Now, several countries that people rely on for food supplies are instead choosing to keep these vital supplies in their own country.

Overall, there is a threat to grain production as well as edible oils, two food necessities.

Palm oil, for example, is used in vegetable oil. This is a key ingredient for chocolate, biscuits, margarine, and even some laundry detergents. This year alone palm oil has gone up 50% in price. Not to mention, Russia and Ukraine are both major suppliers of edible oils and wheat. Russia and Ukraine make up a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports.

According to NBC New York, Ukraine’s government has now banned the export of wheat and oats. They want to make sure they can feed their own people during this war. The invasion in Ukraine is particularly threatening people in Europe, Africa, and Asia that rely on products from the Black Sea region. It will create shortages and food insecurity for people that use these products to feed animals and make bread or noodles.

These export bans are going to reduce supplies just as prices reach their highest since 2011. Wheat prices reached a 14-year high at the end of last week. These kinds of staple grains are also what feed some of the world’s poorest regions. Some low-income countries are already seeing an increase in malnourishment rates. Even the price of fertilizer, which is essential to growing crops, has gone up as well.

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