HINDRANCE

Global supply glitch piles pressure of world food agenda - FAO

This is occasioned by Russia-Ukraine crisis

In Summary
  • Its estimate of 19 million more people could face chronic undernourishment globally in 2023
  • Global food consumption is projected to increase by 1.4%
Image: STAR

Climate change and disruption in the global food supply chain will hinder the world’s attempt to end hunger by2030, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

In the latest Agricultural Outlook 2020-2031, the United Nations body says the global agri-food sector faces fundamental challenges over the coming decade, particularly the need to feed an increasing population in a sustainable manner.

“Prices of agricultural products have been driven upward by a host of factors, including the recovery in demand following the covid-19 outbreak, the resulting supply and trade disruptions, poor weather in key suppliers and rising production and transportation costs,” FAO says.

The assessment noted that additional demand for food will continue to originate in low- and middle-income countries whereas in high-income countries demand will be limited by slow population growth.

It emphasized that nations should not lose sight of working towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This, as the average agricultural productivity, is mandated to increase by 28 per cent over the next decade for the world to meet its SDGs on Zero Hunger.

Global food consumption is projected to increase by 1.4 per cent annually over the next decade with population growth as the main driver.

The evaluation also noted key factors that upon special attention would up agricultural productivity both nationally and globally.

They included additional public spending and private investment in production, information technology and infrastructure as well as human capital.

With the global agricultural production projected to increase by 1.1 per cent per year over the next decade, FAO credits middle- and low-income countries to be the additional output producers.

It also stresses that increased productivity to enhance investment in technology, infrastructure and training will be critical drivers of agricultural growth.

However, a prolonged increase in energy and agricultural input prices such as fertilisers will continue raising production costs and may constrain productivity and output growth in the coming years.

In the current case scenario, the war between Russia and Ukraine, both key suppliers of cereals, has seen cereal prices shoot higher which according to the FAO rice price update has seen a steady increase in the price index since the start of this year.

Russia's key role in fertilizer markets has also compounded already existing concerns about fertilizer prices and near-term productivity.

With no war-ending signs, wheat could be 19 per cent above the pre-conflict levels if Ukraine fully loses its capacity to export.

This would be 34 per cent higher if, in addition, Russian exports get to 50 per cent of normal amounts of the commodity.

“The rising prices of food, fertiliser, feed and fuel, as well as tightening financial conditions are spreading human suffering across the world,” FAO director-general QU Dongyu said.

He further noted that an estimate of 19 million more people could face chronic undernourishment globally in 2023 if the reduction of global food production and food supply from major exporting countries surges.

“An immediate end of the Russia-Ukraine war would be the best outcome for many households around the world that are suffering from sharp price increases driven by the war,” FAO said.