Washington DC, 27 July 2022 (TDI): The World Bank reports inflammation in the worst food crisis of the decade because of trade restrictions globally.
The worst food crisis was one of the most debated topics in the 12th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization. The countries which tend to control their domestic prices are putting restrictions on the trading of wheat and other commodities. This is causing a global food crisis.
This is a matter of urgency: to defuse the growing food crisis, it’s imperative that all food-related trade restrictions imposed since the start of the year be lifted as swiftly as possible, says @AxelVT_WB and @Mari_Pangestu. https://t.co/CZncmB2hsC pic.twitter.com/dNPKZDnCX6
— World Bank (@WorldBank) July 26, 2022
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has played a big role in influencing the food crisis. The price of wheat has gone up by 34% since the beginning of the crisis. Other food items also experienced this rise in cost. Many countries, therefore, put restrictions on exports of food and fertilizers.
This current situation is compared to the 2008 food crisis. About 36 countries banned the export of food in 2008. Currently, the world is approaching the same number with 34 countries already putting the restrictions.
The Impact of Food Crisis
The most affected community by the food crisis is the poor people. Especially in developing countries, more than half of the earnings are spent on food. Overall, developing countries are the biggest victims of the food crisis as they are the major importers. Considering the past experience of the 2008 food crisis, more than 50% of children from poor households dropped out of school. There was also an increase in malnutrition levels mainly in children during the food crisis.
The situation is likely to continue in the coming months if the crisis is not resolved. It has been reported that fewer restrictions on trading could have kept the prices 13% lower than the present prices.
Ukraine War Fueling the Food Crisis
The war especially after the Covid-19 pandemic has also escalated the food crisis. Ukraine is one of the biggest food suppliers such as corn, barley, and sunflower seeds. These items are unable to be exported due to the blockade of Ukraine’s ports and shipments. Russia is the world’s second-biggest exporter of wheat and it has also restricted its exports.
Steps to Control the Crisis
At the end of the meeting, 100 member countries of WTO agreed to facilitate the food trade. Furthermore, a group of 7 advanced economic states has agreed to ban trade restrictions and export barriers. These states include Canada, the USA, and the European Union. The President of The World Bank, David Malpass, also called on other major food exporters to join in.