The good luck that’s still needed to avoid a world food crisis (Financial Times)
- Impact Area
Financial Times in a report examines what happens when a near crisis is averted. Russia and Ukraine together make up around a third of global wheat exports, and many low and middle-income countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, are dependent on grain imports. Ukraine and allied governments accused Russia of threatening global famine as a geopolitical tool.
Once Russia resumed its participation in the grain agreement, the crisis subsided. The Financial Times asks if this was the result of good policy or good fortune. International Food Policy Research Institute’s Joseph Glauber, a senior research fellow says that it was mainly luck. Excellent harvests in the big southern hemisphere grain exporters — Australia, Argentina, and Brazil — were rapidly bringing down maize and wheat prices before the Black Sea initiative was launched. Meanwhile, a threatened worldwide spike in fertilizer costs has been ameliorated by falling prices of natural gas, one of its main inputs.
Governments will have to do much more if shocks are not to threaten the kind of mass hunger that the world has been lucky to escape so far this year.