The Russian brutal attack continues on Ukraine, and the government of Ukraine is trying to save face. What is the latest evidence? This week’s latest evidence?

Russia’s attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine further increases food costs due to the pandemic-squeezed supply chain. This unprovoked attack reverberates throughout the globe, increasing the danger of food shortages in the most poorest countries. Although this war has brought our global food system to a sharper focus than ever before, there are some positive signs around the edges of a grim vista.

Rye grain. Siegfried layda/Getty Images

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that “wheat alone” accounts for 20% of global calorie intake. According to your source, Ukrainian and Russian exports of wheat account for between 20% and 30% of the total world wheat exports from a region called Europe’s breadbasket.

This war will have an adverse effect on American bread prices and cereal prices. However, countries in the Sahara — North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia — heavily rely on imports of wheat from Russia and Ukraine. According to the International Grains Council, about a third of Ukraine’s wheat exports go to Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Egypt.

IGC notes also that the grain and oilseeds price index rose by 17% since February. This is due to a 28% increase in wheat prices and 23% rise in maize rates. The IGC noted a 22% jump in barley. One-fifth global barley exports are from Russia and Ukraine, while Ukraine is fourth in the number of corn exports.

While this news may raise the possibility of food insecurity and hunger in certain regions and increase food prices, which have already increased by around 11% since the outbreak of the pandemic began, it brings to light positive news from the rest of the world.

Higher prices for corn and wheat will be a boon to some domestic farmers as the supply chain continues to tighten. Higher fertilizer prices will mean that livestock producers have to spend more money on their feedstock. Higher prices for barley will result in higher beer production costs, which will drive up the prices at register.

While these costs are not only costly in the U.S. they can be disastrous in Afghanistan under Taliban control, where there is a severe food shortage. Millions of people are at risk due to the self-imposed isolation from international. India, an antagonistic neighbour, offers hope.

India, which accounts for over 13% of global wheat output, is the second largest exporter. Indian wheat production has increased dramatically since the 1960s. It is now expected to reach almost 110 million tonnes by 2021. The country committed to providing food assistance to Afghanistan, as Indian wheat exports are likely to exceed the 2012-2013 peak.

Potentially, higher grain prices can also improve the lives of sub-Saharan Africans. McKinsey & Company is a global management consultancy firm that estimates that 60 percent to 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population are smallholder farmers. Farmers make more money and produce more when prices go up. McKinsey estimates that agriculture accounts for 23 percent of subsaharan Africa’s GDP. With significant international investment, these growers can potentially increase their production of grain, livestock and other products by as much as three times. These include investment in agriculture elements such as irrigation, fertilizer and hybrid seeds as well as storage and money for basic infrastructures like roads and ports.

A 2021 Board for International Food and Agricultural Development Study found that sub-Saharan Africa’s food production grew at twice the rate of inflation from 2000 to 2018, compared to 1980 to 1999.

Higher food costs are still a major stress factor for many millions. These will be used as propaganda by Russia to blame Ukraine and other West countries for the increased burden. This does however, highlight our interdependence and encourage nations to work together to help those in greatest need.



Russia is attacking Ukraine, as food prices are increasing due to the pandemic and the war which Russia started. There are some positive signs around the edges of a grim vista. Higher corn and wheat prices will be good for domestic farmers, but the price increases could be disastrous in Afghanistan under Taliban control


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