The escalating tensions in the Black Sea region heaped fresh risks on global food markets already struggling with soaring prices, supply-chain disruptions, and a bumpy recovery from the pandemic. Before the Ukraine crisis, overall conditions in markets for staple foods looked reasonably favourable and seemed to augur for softening prices during 2022, even as sharply rising food prices in domestic markets in many developing countries continue to raise concerns about greater food insecurity. The escalation of the conflict is now putting markets into serious turmoil.
The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has roiled commodity markets and threatens global food security. Ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have already driven up food prices. Poor harvests in South America, strong global demand, and supply chain issues have reduced grain and oilseed inventories and driven prices to their highest levels since 2011-2013.
FAO State of Food and Agriculture Report 2021: Diversification is key to building resilient agrifood systems
Over the last few years, global food systems have been disrupted by conflict, economic shocks, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing global food insecurity and malnutrition.
A Jan. 19 policy seminar examined the implications of fragile agrifood systems and the findings of FAO’s The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 (SOFA) report. The report analyzes the vulnerabilities of food supply chains and how at-risk populations such as those in rural areas cope with risks and shocks.
Food prices are skyrocketing around the world. In January, international prices for major food items climbed to a level near the heights of the global food price crises of 2007-08 and 2010-11, according to the FAO Food Price Index (Figure 1). The spike has raised concerns over the potential for another global food crisis, increasing hunger among the poor and, possibly, social unrest around the world.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the midstream of agrifood value chains—wholesalers, logistics, and processors—play a critical role to food security and value chain transformation. These enterprises help keep food supplies affordable and stable, provide employment and income for millions of rural and urban workers, and improve food quality and safety for consumers. However, in South Asia, Africa south of the Sahara (SSA), and other developing regions, SMEs often don’t play a role in the food system transformation conversation.