GENEVA, June 10 (Reuters) – A decline in exports of wheat and other staple foods from Russia and Ukraine threatens starvation for 11 to 19 million more people around the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The conflict in Ukraine is leading to a global food crisis, with prices of grains, cooking oils, fuels and fertilizers soaring. Russia and Ukraine account for almost a third of the world’s wheat supply, and are also a key exporter of fertilizer and a major supplier of corn and sunflower oil, respectively.
This situation “could threaten 11 to 19 million more people with famine – a chronic famine over the period 2022-2023”, estimated Boubaker BenBelhassen, director of the FAO’s Markets and Trade Division.
“The most affected countries are those in the Near East/North Africa region, given their heavy dependence on imports – especially of wheat – from these countries, but also of vegetable oil, sunflower oil” , he told reporters.
Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, such as Bangladesh and Indonesia, are also “heavily affected”, he added.
Soaring agricultural input costs are threatening production and food security in poor countries facing record import prices, the UN agency warned in a report released on Thursday. (Report Paul Carrel; French version Alizée Degorce, edited by Sophie Louet)
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