Conflict in Ukraine adds to global food security threat: WFP

GENEVA — The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is further threatening global food security, with food prices already at an all-time high.

Jakob Kern, the WFP’s Emergency Coordinator for Ukraine, told an online press conference that the conflict has triggered a wave of hunger across the globe, Xinhua news agency reported.

As the world’s largest and fourth-largest exporters of wheat respectively, Russia and Ukraine together are responsible for 29 per cent of the global wheat trade. Therefore, the two countries are critical to ensuring the food security of many countries around the world.

Global food and fuel prices have increased sharply since the start of the conflict, Kern said. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index, they reached an all-time high in February 2022.

The price of wheat increased by 24 per cent from February 21 to March 15, Kern said.

“These hikes will affect local food prices and, through these, access to food, especially for millions of people who are already struggling to put food on the table,” he added.

“This year we are at a crossroads: either we rise to the challenge of meeting immediate needs while at the same time supporting programs that build long-term resilience at scale, or we face even bigger problems down the line,” Kern said. — (IANS)