‘The food price crisis does not happen in isolation’

New analysis published yesterday in the scientific journal Nature​ revealed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens to increase the number of malnourished people, who have already come under pressure from reduced diets and health systems access due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and children are being hit hardest, according to nutrition leaders from Standing Together for Nutrition (ST4N) – a consortium of more than 35 nutrition, economics, food and health systems experts – and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

Global events are limiting access to nutrition for vulnerable women and children by directly impacting food security and diet quality through increased food prices and reduced availability and access. Globally, the reach of humanitarian assistance has reduced and services to mitigate acute food insecurity and treat malnutrition have been cut, the researchers warned. They observed that nutrition budgets have been reallocated to ‘other purposes’.

“This food price crisis does not happen in isolation,”​ commented Dr. Saskia Osendarp, lead author and Executive Director of the Micronutrient Forum. “It comes after two years of households and governments trying to cope with the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change related events, and other conflicts.”

What is driving the food price crisis?

Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest producers of wheat, fertilizer, and fuel. Even before the Russian invasion, global food prices were at an all-time high. The war against Ukraine has further increased the prices of all commodities by 12.6% in March compared to February 2022, according to the researchers. After nearly two months of conflict, wheat commodity prices have increased by 19.7%.

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