World Bank Group and other agencies have stated that the war in Ukraine continues to exacerbate the global food security and nutrition crisis, with high and volatile energy, food and fertiliser prices, restrictive trade policies, and supply chain disruptions.
According to the group, despite the reprieve in global food prices and the resumption of grain exports from the Black Sea, food remains beyond reach for many due to high prices and weather shocks.
“The number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide is expected to continue to rise. Fertiliser markets remain volatile, especially in Europe, where tight natural gas supplies and high prices have caused many producers of urea and ammonia to stop operations. This may reduce fertiliser application rates for the next crop season, prolonging and deepening the impact of the crisis.”WBG
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director General Qu Dongyu, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Group (WBG) President David Malpass, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley and World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The statement indicated there has been considerable progress in four key areas. It added that it implemented social assistance measures across all economies quadrupled from 37 to 148 between April and September 2022.
“We welcome the efforts of the Global Crisis Response Group and the Black Sea Grain Initiative: through the Joint Coordination Centre, over 3 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have already been exported from Ukraine. We are encouraged by the downward trend of trade restrictive measures implemented by countries and hope that the trend continues. International financial support to the most vulnerable countries is increasing from various initiatives. The World Bank is implementing its $30 billion program to respond to the food security crisis and frontloading resources from the IDA20 Crisis Response Window.
“The IMF is proposing a new food shock window within the IMF emergency lending instruments. The FAO has proposed a series of policy recommendations and launched detail soil nutrition maps at country level to increase efficiencies in the use of fertilisers.”WBG
Building Resilience for the Future
According to organizations, maintaining momentum on these fronts and building resilience for the future will require a continued comprehensive and coordinated effort to support efficient production and trade, improve transparency, accelerate innovation and joint planning and invest in food systems transformation.
“Governments in all countries need to urgently re-examine their agricultural trade and market interventions, such as subsidies and export restrictions, to identify and minimise distortions. Shorter interventions cause less harm than indefinite ones. Promoting the production of nutritious foods and repurposing the US$639 billion support per year provided to agriculture by governments can transform food systems and improve food security and nutrition. Preserving open trade in food, agriculture, and energy can reduce price distortions that dilute incentives for efficient production.
“Countries should follow through on commitments made at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference to restrain export restrictions on food and fertilisers and put in place trade facilitation measures. We also welcome clarifications of relevant regulations to allow critical agricultural inputs such as fertilisers to move swiftly to countries in need.”WBG
Meanwhile, the organizations said they remain committed to working together to address immediate food security and nutrition needs, tackle structural market issues that may exacerbate adverse impacts, and build countries’ resilience to prevent and mitigate the impacts of future crises.