Countries that rely heavily on Russia and Ukraine for food will also feel the impact. These include “a handful of economies” in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia that get 75% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, the bank says.
Two billion people in the world currently suffer from malnutrition and according to some estimates, we need 60% more food to feed the global population by 2050. Yet the agricultural sector is ill-equipped to meet this demand: 700 million of its workers currently live in poverty, and it is already responsible for 70% of the world’s water consumption and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
New technologies could help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has fallen behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption.
Launched in 2018, the Forum’s Innovation with a Purpose Platform is a large-scale partnership that facilitates the adoption of new technologies and other innovations to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food.
With research, increasing investments in new agriculture technologies and the integration of local and regional initiatives aimed at enhancing food security, the platform is working with over 50 partner institutions and 1,000 leaders around the world to leverage emerging technologies to make our food systems more sustainable, inclusive and efficient.
More than 13% of global corn exports and over 5% of wheat exports also come from Ukraine.
Russia’s food and energy exports
Russia accounts for 18% of the world’s wheat exports and 14% of fertilizers. It’s also a “major force” in the market for energy and metals, the World Bank says.
The country controls a quarter of the world’s natural gas exports, 18% of coal exports, 14% of platinum shipments and 11% of crude oil exports.
Oil prices have more than doubled in the past six months, and if this continues it will cut rates of economic growth by 20-50% in countries such as South Africa, Turkey, China and Indonesia, the World Bank estimates.
These include other major grain producing countries boosting their exports – for example by releasing stocks. Other major oil producers also need to increase supplies to help lower fuel, fertilizer and shipping costs, they say.
And in the interim, governments need to protect their people by offering food or financial aid.
“The difficulty here is Ukraine grows enough food to feed 400 million people on planet Earth,” David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme tells the show. “So when the farmers on the battlefields aren’t planting or aren’t harvesting, what impact do you think that’s going to have?”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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