Global chains of supply and distribution are not unfamiliar with disruptions and upheavals, the likes of which caused by the tumultuous invasion of Ukraine being particularly pertinent to the discussion of food security. The July 2022 Briefing Notes on the matter of food shortages in Ukraine, issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), predicts 60% of the country’s population to be plunged in poverty by 2023 as a result of the war. The presence of conflict, forcing farmers to reduce their operation sizes, abandon harvesting sown crops and lose access to vital seeds and fertilizer, will not only exacerbate current food shortages, but spiral the crisis into a greater dearth of resources, driving up food prices in the process.

Muno is 5 years old. She is carrying on her back her 2 year old baby brother. Recently, she and her family were displaced from the Bay region of Somalia after the drought killed all their livestock. Muno is not old enough to take responsibilities, but seems like the circumstances forced her to help her mother and take care of the younger child. Photo: Ismail Salad Osman Hajji/Unsplash.

A crisis in one nation is not contained in a world as connected as it is today, and the war’s impact is felt directly on existing food security crises in Africa. Wheat exports to Somalia, for instance, are primarily supplied by Russia and Ukraine, the shipping of which has stopped since the outbreak of war. Rising prices and shortages caused by the war exacerbates the existing drought in the Horn of Africa, with up to 13 million people suffering from severe hunger. In the case of Somalia, drought and famine have internally displaced over a million people in 2022, with over 513,000 children predicted to suffer from acute malnutrition, and more children dying of hunger every day.

Food availability in Africa is impacted by the war to the degree that food production is predicted to drop by 20% across the continent, as farmers now face a 300% hike in fertilizer prices. As demonstrated by Somalia’s current crisis, made worse by the constraining of global food supplies, food security is in dire need of greater attention from the most influential global actors.

Read the full article about addressing food insecurity by Aneesh Chatterjee at Global Washington.