As the world looks on in horror at the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, uncertainty about the country’s agricultural exports has triggered a global food shortage. This drives the prices for wheat, corn, soybeans, fertilizers and sunflower oil to new highs. But there are ways out of the crisis.
Before this war, more than 800 million people in the world were suffering from hunger. This situation could worsen in the coming months, pushing another 100 million people into poverty and malnutrition. The transition period between spring sowing and autumn harvesting will be extremely difficult.
Ludovic Subran is Chief Economist at Allianz SE. Before that he was chief economist at Euler Hermes, the world’s largest credit insurer.
Fifteen years after the terrible food crisis of 2007, we must learn the lessons and prevent new hunger crises and revolts. We now need a ten point plan to improve food security, availability, accessibility and use of food.
The first part of this plan aims to avoid food shortages. It is clear that the sooner the war ends, the less affected will be the production, export and transportation of wheat, corn and fertilizers. But just waiting for peace is not an option, politicians must act now.
However, these measures alone are not sufficient. Record food inflation is not just a problem for countries dependent on Ukraine or Russia for their supplies, but a global challenge.