Last Updated: August 31, 2023, 09:43 IST
Washington D.C., United States of America (USA)
The Ukraine conflict that started in February 2022 has resulted in one of the most disruptive periods in decades for global food security, the top US spy agency said in a report released by Congress on Wednesday.
In a newly unclassified assessment, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alleged that Russia has deliberately worsened global food security by confiscating Ukrainian grain for their own exports and consumption and has complicated Kyiv’s ability to export its commodities
This report finds that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused disruptions in global food supply and higher and more volatile global food prices. “The onset of war also led to an immediate and rapid rise in the prices of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and fuel, and prices remained elevated for most of 2022,” the report said.
“Several developments, including increased production in other countries, the ability of global markets to adjust to changing supply and demand signals, and the UN-led Black Sea Grain Initiative, which enabled Ukrainian agricultural products to exit Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and reach international markets-lowered global food prices to pre-conflict levels by the end of 2022, although domestic food price inflation as of this year remain high in many countries,” it added.
According to US intelligence, the combination of high domestic food prices and historic levels of sovereign debt in many countries largely caused by spending and the recessionary effects of the pandemic has weakened countries’ capacity to respond to heightened food insecurity risks. As per the report, these factors probably will undermine the capacity of many poor countries to provide sufficient and affordable food to their populations through the end of the year.
It also finds that Russia stole nearly 6 million tons of Ukrainian wheat harvested from occupied territories in 2022. Cargo ships used to transport the stolen grain out of Russian-occupied territories in 2022 would steer along the coast of Turkey to deliver shipments to ports in Syria, Israel, Iran, Georgia and Lebanon, the report said.
Moreover, the US intelligence warned of the impact of food security on political stability and security including factors such as global food and fertilizer prices, fiscal space for governments, and the availability of foreign currency to pay for imported foods.