Ukraine Crisis Monitoring: Analysis of Food Crisis Risks and Policy Responsiveness

The Food Security Portal gratefully acknowledges the European Commission (EC) and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the Government of the United Kingdom for their financial support of the Ukraine crisis monitoring.

 

The crisis in Ukraine threatens global food security at a time when global food markets are already struggling with soaring prices, supply-chain disruptions, and a bumpy recovery from the pandemic. Ukraine and the Russian Federation account for more than 30% of global wheat exports, provide around 12 percent of the globally traded supply of food energy in kilo calories, and are breadbaskets to many food import-dependent developing countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, Russia is a major producer of fertilizer. Any serious disruption of production and exports from these suppliers will drive up prices further and erode food security for millions of people. If governments respond with export restrictions in an effort to keep domestic food prices in check, the impact on food security will be even higher.

In this context, monitoring the impact of the crisis on food security is key. To that end, this page provides several tools to monitor the situation. Here you can monitor production and stocks, track food export restrictions, check food price volatility, and access resources such as the AMIS Market Monitor.

 

The AMIS Market Monitor May 2024

Harvesting of maize and soybeans in the southern hemisphere is progressing, but lack of rain earlier in the season and high temperatures have constrained yields. In the northern hemisphere, winter crops also suffered from insufficient precipitations, while spring sowing is ongoing. Globally, record-high temperatures since the latter half of 2023 reflect the influences of the strong 2023-2024 El Niño and climate change. Heat extremes will very likely continue during 2024, impacting crop development and possibly constraining the yield potential. With global temperatures at unseen levels, the impact of a potential return of La Niña on agricultural production is uncertain. La Niña events have historically led to slightly lower than average global yields for soybeans and slightly higher than average global yields for rice.

Vulnerability to Global Market Shocks V.2: Price Shocks to Major Staple Foods

International food prices are volatile. Prices for major staple crops, like wheat, maize, rice, and oil seeds have suffered major up- and downswings creating uncertain market conditions for farmers and unstable food access for consumers. This international price volatility is disproportionately impacting consumers in low-income countries that are heavily reliant on food imports. The FSP’s Vulnerability to Global Market Shocks V.2: Price Shocks to Major Staple Foods provides new metrics quantifying country-level vulnerability to changes in international prices for major staple crops.

Vulnerability to Global Market Shocks V.1: Wheat and Fertilizer Price Shocks Caused by Ukraine Crisis

This tool is designed to identify the exposure (vulnerability) of countries to shocks in global markets that may cause supply shortages or price surges in staple foods and key agricultural inputs (like fertilizers) which could erode food security in countries if they are highly dependent on imports of such commodities and/or lack the economic capacity to cushion their vulnerable population against the impacts of those shocks.

Food and Fertilizer Export Restrictions Tracker

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to expose global food security to high uncertainty, exacerbating already soaring food prices stemming from COVID-19-induced supply disruptions and drought-reduced yields. As seen in past global food price crises, some countries have begun restricting food trade with the objective of controlling domestic food inflation. These restrictions can have dire unintended consequences for vulnerable people in food-importing countries, increasing prices and exacerbating food insecurity.

Fertilizer Market Dashboard

The outbreak of the war in Ukraine sent fertilizer prices soaring to all-time highs as prices for natural gas, a key feedstock for nitrogenous fertilizer production, drove production cutbacks and sanctions and export restrictions disrupted exports. These drivers of market turmoil intensified fears of reduced global food production and higher food prices. While global supply continues to rebound and prices abate, risks linger and monitoring market developments remains key.

Production and Stocks Monitoring System

The stock-to-use ratio measures the level of stocks of a commodity relative to its total use, and it is an important indicator of the vulnerability of world food markets to shocks. When stock-to-use ratios are high, more supply is available in inventory, which enables countries to smooth consumption and even out prices in the case of a shock. Low stock-to use ratios increase the severity of price spikes and volatility.

Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System

The Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System is a tool of the Food Security Portal that identifies periods of excessive price variability (i.e. price variability that exceeds a pre-established threshold), and it is updated on a daily basis to identify days that are within periods of high, moderate, and low price variability.