What is a food crisis?
Agriculture produces most of the world’s food supply. A food crisis occurs when a country loses the ability to produce and supply food to its citizens, resulting in higher hunger rates. At the same time, more and more people struggle daily to find notorious food and survive.
History and the reality in developing countries have shown us that rising food prices, inflation and an increasing food shortage may lead to internal instability or threaten regimes and trigger a civil uprising. The war in Ukraine, armed conflicts around the world and the growing global warming threatened to expand the issue to more countries and regions than ever before.
This article will address two key factors that worsened the global food crisis as of 2022 – the war in Ukraine and global warming.
Ukraine and Russia – The world’s “wheat basket”
In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine setting Europe into one of its biggest crises since World War 2. The consequences are significant, not only for the countries involved directly in the war, as Russia and Ukraine provide 30% of the world’s wheat and are mass producers of sunflower oil and corn. Since the war broke, tens of millions of tons of grain were stuck as the supply chain was interrupted.
While Russia is constantly preventing grain and goods from leaving Ukraine, the western sanctions on Russia – led by the USA and EU, have stopped almost all of Russia’s export. These two factors led to an increasing food shortage in countries that depend almost entirely on wheat imports, such as Somalia (100%), Egypt (82%), Sudan (75%) and Tanzania (64%).
According to FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation), almost 200 million people in 41 countries could face worse levels of hunger if the war continues.
Talked about constantly for the past years, there is no doubt that global warming is one of the main threats to food security and humanity. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the average global temperature has increased by almost 1 degree Celsius over the past 100 years.
The consequences of a warmer planet are not only something we feel. In the past years, we are witnessing a sharp increase in unusual natural phenomena such as extensive wildfires, prolonged droughts, floods and an increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms – all of which influence countries’ ability to produce and supply food.
Is it possible to prevent a food crisis?
Of course, there isn’t one answer. No one can know what will happen in the next war or how it will affect global food security. Yet, one thing remains clear – facing today’s challenges, it is necessary to find technological solutions that will allow agriculture to become more efficient, sustainable and less vulnerable to external impacts.
Using Israeli innovation and top experts, Avnon Academy assists governments and policymakers use today’s technologies to benefit the future. We believe that by using the right tools – agriculture can prosper in any situation, anywhere, and in any weather.