The world is facing a huge food crisis in 2022. Prices have continued to rise while the war in Ukraine threatens supplies of important crops. The UN has warned that with food prices already high due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the additional strain of war could trigger huge international food shortages.
Maximo Torero, Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, tweeted that the situation is becoming extremely problematic. It is likely that the food crisis will affect the whole world, but poorer countries are likely to be the hardest hit.
Food Supply Problems Before The Ukraine Invasion
Food prices had seen significant increases before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the UN, worldwide food prices were on average around 20% higher in February 2022 than a year previously. We also saw problems with food production and supply chain due to worker shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The increasing cost of fertiliser is a significant factor in the increase of food prices. Fertiliser manufacture requires a large amount of energy, so increased energy costs caused an increase in fertiliser cost. The Covid-19 pandemic also affected fertiliser manufacturing, with fewer workers in factories. This caused drops in production, leading to increased prices of fertiliser worldwide.
Ukraine and Russia Food Exports
Ukraine is a major exporter of food, with exports of over $27 billion in agricultural produce in 2021. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have a huge impact on food exports in 2022 and beyond.
The most productive agricultural land in Ukraine is in the east, which is directly affected by the conflict. Normally in spring, farmers would be preparing the land and planting crops. Instead, many farm workers are now involved in the conflict, or have been forced to leave the country as refugees. In 2022, Ukraine will produce far less food that in previous years.
As the war takes its toll on Ukraine, food production the home market will take priority over export. Crops needed to provide food for Ukraine will be planted instead of crops for the export market. Therefore, it is likely that Ukraine will export little food in 2022.
Russia is also a major exporter of food. With many countries reducing trade with Russia, it is likely that Russia will also export less food. This will place even more burden on the global food supply.
Russian Fertiliser Production
Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fertilisers. The price of fertiliser increased rapidly before the war in Ukraine, and continues to do so now. As many nations cut ties with Russia, or ban imports of Russian goods, fertiliser will be in short supply. Fertiliser prices will continue to increase, with the cost passed on to consumers. This may also lead to reduced food production for the 2022 and 2023 harvests.
How To Prepare For Global Food Shortages
The best way to prepare for food shortages, or price increases, is to gradually build up a stock of food. When buying food, add extra of any shelf stable items that you would normally buy. It is far better to gradually build up your supplies than buy huge quantities in one go. Slowly building up your supplies avoids panic buying, and allows you to rotate your stores.
Our prepper’s list of shelf stable foods is a great starting point to build up your food supplies.
Another way to beat ever increasing food prices and food shortages is to grow some of your own food. Use outdoor space that you have to grow vegetables, and you will be able to easily supplement your stored food.