Vulnerability analysis on wheat and fertilizer trade dependence

The vulnerability analysis tool includes short-term assessments of (expected) global impacts through trade and production bottlenecks in wheat and fertilizer markets caused by the crisis and trade and policy responses and identification of “hot spots” of countries with the highest exposure and country-specific vulnerability assessment of 5 countries (Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, West Africa and Latin America).

Domestic Food Price Inflation and Food Security Risks posed by the Invasion of Ukraine

Source: IFPRI policy seminar | Click here to see the presentation


[Global] The impact of the Ukraine crisis on the global vegetable oil market

This post examines the unfolding impacts on the global market for vegetable oils, including additional factors affecting prices such as biofuel policies and export restrictions in the Black Sea and elsewhere.

Vegetable oils are a key item in diets around the world and an essential source of fats, accounting for about 10% of daily caloric food supply (300 kcal per day per person), making them the second most important food group after cereals. Vegetable oils are also a nutritional source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins E and K. Vegetable oils are, of course, an essential cooking item, particularly for poor consumers unable to shift to more expensive butter or other animal fat-based products.

[Global] Do No Harm: Measured policy responses are key to addressing food security impacts of the Ukraine crisis

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is likely to have serious consequences for global food security. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that if there is a prolonged disruption in exports of wheat, fertilizer, and other items from Ukraine and Russia, the number of undernourished people worldwide could increase by 8 to 13 million people in 2022/23, with the most pronounced increases taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). 

Even before the crisis, agricultural commodity supplies were tight and market prices were at (nominal) record levelsPrices for most grains and oilseeds (figure 1) have risen sharply since the war began in late February. Russia and Ukraine together supply about 12% of global agricultural exports on a caloric basis, and over 30% of global wheat exports. The two countries command even higher shares in the wheat-dependent economies of the Middle East and North Africa, where wheat prices have risen over 30% compared to pre-war levels. Fertilizer and energy markets have seen rising prices and supply disruptions as well.

[Global – food price impacts] The Ukraine conflict and global food price scares

The escalating tensions in the Black Sea region have heaped fresh risks on global food markets already struggling with soaring prices, supply-chain disruptions, and a bumpy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the 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.

[Global] How will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affect global food security?

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. Vegetable oil prices have also been at record levels, reflecting the short South American soybean crop, reduced palm oil supplies due to harvest problems in Malaysia, and sharply increased use of palm and soybean oil for biodiesel production. Prices of key energy-intensive inputs like fuel, fertilizer and pesticides have also been at near-record levels.

[Egypt] The Russia-Ukraine crisis poses a serious food security threat for Egypt

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has imperiled global food security—creating suffering within Ukraine and displacing millions while disrupting agricultural production and trade from one of the world's major exporting regions. The latter threatens to drive rising food prices still higher and create scarcity, especially for regions most dependent on exports from Russia and Ukraine—particularly the Middle East and North Africa.

In this post, we consider the impacts of the war on the wheat market, focusing on Egypt. Wheat is a key food item for this country, representing between 35% and 39% of caloric intake per person in the last few years. Wheat imports usually account for about 62% of total wheat use in the country. We conclude by listing a number of key policy actions aimed at diversifying imports in the short term and helping Egypt’s agrifood system transformation to become fairer and more resilient. The latter is an absolute necessity in the context of looming threats from climate change and water scarcity.

[Yemen] The Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens to further exacerbate the food insecurity emergency in Yemen

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has roiled agricultural markets, particularly wheat, which has seen prices rise by 30% since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. This post focuses on the impacts of the crisis on Yemen, whose poverty, civil war, and dependence on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine make it uniquely vulnerable to the current market and supply disruptions.

Yemen’s civil war has ravaged the country since 2015, and lately serious impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened its already precarious food security. The prevalence of undernourishment, as measured by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), exceeds 45%, and more than half of the population relies on some type of in-kind food assistance.

[Sudan] The Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to compound Sudan’s existing food security problems

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted agricultural production and trade from one of the world's major food exporting regions. The war threatens to drive rising food prices still higher and create scarcity, especially for regions most dependent on wheat and other exports from Russia and Ukraine—particularly the Middle East and North Africa.

Sudan faces a uniquely difficult set of circumstances as these disruptions loom. As with other countries in the region, wheat is a key food item for Sudan, the second only to sorghum as a source of calories, accounting for 530 calories/person/day—a fifth of the estimated 2,576 total consumed daily. Only about 15% of the wheat consumed is grown in Sudan—a share that might shrink due to rising fertilizer and energy prices; the rest is imported, with a majority sourced from Russia and Ukraine in recent years (Figure 1). Adding to these vulnerabilities, prices for wheat and fuel were already spiking before the war began, compounding the risk of rising food insecurity.

[Bangladesh] How the war in Ukraine threatens Bangladesh’s food security

As the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues to disrupt the global trade of key foods such as wheat and vegetable oils, along with fertilizers, impacts are falling heavily on countries such as Bangladesh. Dependent on imports of those items to feed its large population, many poor and vulnerable to shocks, the country faces the prospect of rising food insecurity.

The conflict threatens Bangladesh’s recent progress on this front. With a population of 165 million in 2021—with 38% employed by the agricultural and fisheries sector—and a growing economy, the country’s undernourished population declined from a high of 16% in 2000 to as low as 9.7% in 2019. While the COVID-19 pandemic increased food insecurity, by some measures the country proved relatively resilient: According to a IFPRI study, the proportion of rural households facing moderate or severe food insecurity rose from 15% in early 2020 to 45% in Jan. 2021, then returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.



[Malawi] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens food security in Malawi. How can the country respond?

Food insecurity is endemic in Malawi, affecting up to 38% of the population every year in the run-up to the harvest in April. Although geographically distant, there are multiple channels through which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can make matters worse this year.

The conflict has disrupted global supplies of key cereals, vegetable oils, and fertilizers, pushing already-high prices higher, and putting particular pressure on low-income countries with vulnerable poor populations. In this post we discuss how rising wheat, maize, cooking oil and fertilizer prices are likely to impact Malawi and how the government can respond.

Figure 1

[Lebanon] One of the world’s worst economic collapses, now compounded by the Ukraine crisis: What’s next for Lebanon?

The war in Ukraine is almost certainly driving that figure higher. In this post, we look at the continuing toll of Lebanon’s economic crisis, how impacts from the Russia-Ukraine conflict are further compounding food insecurity, and some potential policy responses.

Economic crisis

Lebanon’s current financial crisis is almost unprecedented in its severity. While the last year has been particularly dreadful in terms of economic stability, the country has not recorded economic growth since 2017. GDP in constant USD has declined at an alarming rate: -1.7% in 2018, -7.1 % in 2019 and -22% in 2020. At the same time, the large influx of Syrian refugees led to a population increase of 30% in ten years. Thus GDP per capita has declined dramatically: Adjusted for purchasing power parity, it fell from $16,000 in 2017 to $12,100 in 2020 , a drop of 25%, with even more pessimistic estimates for 2021 and 2022. In this context, poverty has surged—more than three quarters of Lebanon’s population was estimated to live in poverty at the end of 2021, including one third below the extreme poverty line.