The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a worsening of existing supply chain issues that have been affecting multiple major countries and continents around the world for several months now. The costs of these disruptions has been passed on to the consumer, leading to a global hike in general food prices, especially in things like edible oils, grain-based foods like breakfast cereals, and packaged meat.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, their means of tracking changes in general food commodities, the Food Price Index, saw a nearly 13% increase by the end of March. Russia and Ukraine collectively account for much of the world’s grain products, but with Ukraine dedicating all of their resources to defending themselves and Russia being pummeled by sanctions, neither has the leeway to maintain this regular business.
Besides raising prices at the supermarket in first world countries like the United States, these hikes could disproportionately affect residents in poorer countries lacking money and food infrastructure. “The higher price quotations are particularly concerning for countries already struggling with other crisis, including conflict, natural disasters, economic conditions or, as it is often the case, some combinations of those,” an FAO spokesperson told The Guardian.
World food prices jumped nearly 13% in March to a new record high as the war in Ukraine caused turmoil in markets for staple grains and edible oils, the U.N. food agency said https://t.co/4Mff6Q2Jvu pic.twitter.com/t0Dk0YELk2
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 8, 2022
“[Price] increases are the most noticeable in the countries where the share in disposable income spent on food is the highest. In these cases, the most vulnerable are likely to skip meals, purchase less nutritious foods, or use other coping strategies, which will have longer term effects on their health and wellbeing.”
The FAO is currently drafting proposals to have other major countries commit their support to these impoverished countries until permanent supply lines can be established.