Article by: Hari Yellina
Farmers slumber fully clothed in order to be ready to flee if necessary. Their neighbouring city of Mykolaiv has been a battleground, with bombs landing most nights and no running water. Lawrence Richmond, an Australian farmer who runs three wheat and sunflower farms in southern Ukraine, receives these updates from staff at a desk in Romania. Mr Richmond stated that despite the difficulty of obtaining fuel in a war-torn country, the farmers, who are spared from army conscription so that food production can continue, were able to grow crops the crops recently. Mr Richmond, on the other hand, has no way of knowing whether or not they will be able to collect or sell their summer crop. “We have no idea whether there will be a market for our grain… Will they pay us if there is a market? Or will the Ukrainian government seize control?” Mr. Richmond explained.
The war’s influence on food production is spreading beyond Ukraine’s borders, resulting in a global food catastrophe. Wheat and other essential food exports from Ukraine and Russia have been disrupted, driving up already high global food costs. Russia and Ukraine contribute for roughly 30% and 20% of world wheat and maize exports, respectively, according to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP). The World Food Programme (WFP), which delivers food aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, has warned that disaster is on the horizon, with 44 million people on the verge of famine and millions more facing hunger and malnutrition.
Dr. Martin Frick, director of the World Food Programme’s global office, described the situation as “a perfect humanitarian storm.” The 2022 Global Report on Food Crisis (GRFC) revealed “an alarming deterioration of acute food insecurity,” according to new statistics released this week. In 2021, approximately 193 million people in 53 countries and territories suffered “crisis,” “emergency,” or “catastrophic” food security, according to the report, which is the largest number since it began collecting data in 2016. In 2016, 108 million people lived in poverty in 48 nations. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Yemen are the countries with the highest number of people suffering from severe hunger. Amara, an Afghan mother of eight whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told Save the Children that her family only ate bread, tea, and spinach. “I wish I could buy a bag of rice or flour,” she remarked, “but we can’t afford it.” According to Save the Children, Afghanistan is experiencing its biggest food crisis ever.
However, Dr. Frick stated that the world was not experiencing a food production crisis. “They are vying for food with richer countries, which sometimes use available grains as animal fodder or even transform them into biofuel.” Lawrence Richmond, an Australian farmer in Romania, believes the war’s interruption of global grain markets can be resolved. “I don’t fear a global famine; there is enough food to go around,” he remarked. “Let’s re-mash the entire programme and see if we can improve things a little bit.” There are remedies, according to Dr. Frick, especially because the globe wastes more than a third of the food produced.