Food is the basic need for our day-to-day life and a shortage of food can put a big question mark on the survival of living beings. So let’s read this article on the Global Food Crisis: Causes and Solutions…
-Presented by Aakriti Yadav & Yash Kumar Ranjan
What do you mean by the Global Food Crisis?
A Global Food Crisis occurs when there is a prolonged and extreme shortage of food all over the world. It is a situation when people are unable to afford sufficient food for their daily meals. It poses danger to food security and creates a barrier to Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
Millions of people worldwide are suffering from malnourishment, and at the same time lack of food aggravated the problem of food security.
Since food and grains are the basic need of the world’s population. It is necessary to have a better quality of food in ample amounts for the growth and development of the people of the country, especially the younger generation.
Causes of Global Food Crisis-
International organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) highlighted the causes as long time conflict, wars, experiencing drought, heatwaves, flooding, famine, agricultural system failure, changing weather patterns, economic shocks such as hyperinflation, and rising commodity prices, lack of supply, ban on exports by a country, etc. as the main reasons for the increase in food insecurity and global food crisis.
The effect of climate change is more prevalent across the world. Rising fuel and high fertilizer costs driven by higher demand also worsen the problem.
In times of war to take advantage of the global market, counties sometimes hoard their grain supply, which resulted in soaring food prices in the global food market. They also impose sanctions on other countries which will lead to supply chain disruption and create a ripple effect on the global food chain supply.
Export bans are also impacting food prices to keep domestic prices down and curb inflation. All these conditions create a hunger crisis in the world and poor countries are the most vulnerable section to get affected by these conditions.
Global Distribution of Grain Basket-
Russia and Ukraine together account for more than a quarter of the world’s wheat supply. Ukraine is the world’s eighth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of corn accounting for 16% of the global export, and the major exporter of sunflower oil, and maize. Russia is the largest share of wheat (18%) in global export and supports most of the European and Asian economies.
East Asian countries are the major producer of palm oils and support many countries through their exports but due to lack of sufficient production, they also put bans on their exports which further worsen the problem of food security.
Grain is the foundation of our food system, in present time, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on its economy have worsened the inflated global food crisis. It primarily affected those poorer countries. Many nations are facing food insecurity even before Russia’s conflict. The Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted the supply chain, pumping up the prices of both commodities and crops.
Brazil, the world’s largest producer of soybean, imports about half of its fertilizer from Russia and Belarus. This time Brazil’s soybean crop is significantly smaller. The farmer across the world are cutting back on fertilizers which are threatening the quantity and quality of their yields.
Global Food Security Index-
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) considers the issues of food affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience across a number of countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model constructed from many unique indicators that measure the drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to combat hunger and other parameters related to food insecurity. The goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives. With 195 members – 194 countries and the European Union, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.
- Food Prices Index-
The Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.
- Global Hunger Index (GHI)-
The Global Hunger Index is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. The aim of the GHI is to trigger action to reduce hunger around the world.
Food Crises Impact on the Global Economy-
The war in Ukraine is putting a massive strain on the global food supply. Because of food chain supply disruption, many developed and developing economies face several consequences like soaring prices of cooking oil and prices of grain in their county. Inflation is going to record high.
Countries like Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, and African countries like Nigeria, Sudan are the largest importer of wheat. Due to food shortages, these countries face rising inflation, developing countries are going to be the worst hit because of the crisis in Ukraine. Petrol prices are rocket high which creates the transportation cost of food grains more expensive.
The rise in oil prices, explosive demand, high shipping cost, financial market speculation, low grain reserves, and severe weather disruption in some major grain producer countries hit other import-dependent economies very badly.
Impact on India-
India is the second largest producer of wheat in the world but this year production has been less than usual. The center has lowered its wheat production estimate due to unprecedented heat waves across the north, west, and central parts of the country which have cost a substantial loss in yields. As a consequence, the Indian government bans wheat exports to ensure food availability for the people of their own country.
Solutions- Way Forward
- A global buffer stock of food should be established to ensure food prices and supply remain stable at the global level. For this purpose, we need modernization in the agricultural sector.
- Countries should adopt ‘optimal export tax’ such as transportation and shipping costs instead of sudden and abrupt bans of food items to ensure food availability to the dependent countries also, as they are the most vulnerable amid the situation of global food crisis.
- The processed form of perishable items should be preferred so that people can switch to these in the wake of supply disruptions and food insecurity. situations.
- A stable agri-trade policy is needed to build a robust infrastructure and efficient value chains and further link these to processing facilities. Therefore it is mandatory to have pre and post-harvesting tools and techniques for mass production.
- Regular checking of exports black marketing, payments, and delay at ports and transport centers can ensure timely reach of food items.
- The country that invaded another country shall be solely responsible for the global food crisis and there must be stringent action taken against it.
- As per the present World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms, countries are not allowed to export foodgrains from their public stock holding as they are procured at subsidized rates. In this scenario, WTO should allow the countries to export foodgrains from their public stock holding to nations facing an acute food crisis.
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