- Poor countries in the developing world have faced catastrophic tragedies as a result of the conflict and the big powers' fight.
- Food availability in the markets, import of various food commodities and cooking oils and the cost of fertilizers have skyrocketed making it out of reach for most people to afford.
The direct or indirect conflict of world powers affects the countries negatively but it affects even further non-participants in the conflict itself.
Poor countries in the developing world have faced catastrophic tragedies as a result of the conflict and the big powers' fight.
Food availability in the markets, import of various food commodities and cooking oils and the cost of fertilizers have skyrocketed making it out of reach for most people to afford.
This refers to the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.
This is nowadays becoming very common as rains are mostly unpredictable and far apart.
This leads to severe droughts leading to loss of crops and livestock affecting the livelihood of the people and their food security.
The impact of climate change is most severe among the poor population for example in our country Kenya.
Kenya’s economy is largely dependent on tourism and rain-fed agriculture, both susceptible to climate change and extreme weather events.
In the few instances where rains come, it usually comes in large quantities leading to flooding and washing away of crops and livestock that are even too feeble to withstand the rains.
Most of the fertilizers used globally are produced in Russia.
These fertilizers were easily accessed at low prices and were helping in agriculture production in the Kenyan highlands.
During the war and the sanctions that were placed thereafter by the Russians, access to these fertilizers became a problem.
Although it's officially said that food and fertilizer exports are not sanctioned, practically the opposite is true.
Insurance to the ships to transport the cargo is expensive, most ships do not prefer picking cargo from these war zones for fear of mines placed in the sea and the few that may be available are too expensive thereby increasing the market price of the fertilizers.
With respect to Kenya, we are lucky that Russia is providing 24,000 metric tonnes of free fertilizer to Kenya and Nigeria this month
Most countries in the Middle East Africa and some parts of Asia depend on food imports for their survival.
Russia -Ukraine Conflict disrupted the Supply Chains of these essential food commodities to the countries that need them.
Food being a basic need for the whole of humanity, should not be treated casually as the respective countries fighting geo-political tussles are currently doing.
People in these regions who mostly survive on less than a dollar a day are virtually unable to afford to buy food and most are resorting to one meal a day which is a traumatizing and unfortunate ordeal.
It's said that Russia wants to abandon the negotiated grain deal brokered by the UN Secretary-General and Turkey because the western Countries did not honour their Part of the Bargain which was to allow free access and movement of Russian food and fertilizer exports.
On Russian Part, it allowed the free movement of Ukrainian grain to the world market without any hindrance.
This was attested to by Turkey who was a party to the deal publicly and silently by the UN Secretary-General.
It’s also worth mentioning that most of the Ukrainian grain was going to rich countries, especially in Europe.
Of late, there were various Protests by grain farmers bordering Ukraine due to the dumping of cheap Ukrainian grain in their countries that drastically reduced grain prices in those countries.
At one time, Poland Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia banned grain imports from Ukraine to Protest the Prices for their domestic farmers.
EU intervened later but with mixed Results.
I don’t understand why these restrictions on Russian grain and fertilizer are being pursued by the West.
Poor countries reeling from continuous long droughts, economic challenges, the Covid Pandemic and ballooning debt challenges cannot shoulder the burden of high food prices.
There is a likely chance of high food prices leading to political instability, malnutrition and other diseases.
Fertilizers are important in boosting food production in these poor countries and are a necessity as is the case with food.
These actions by the West will most likely lead to the West losing more friends instead of gaining new friends.
It will also lead to hunger and food insecurity around the globe.
I urge and advise the West and Russia to remove food and fertilizer commodities from the supremacy geo-political battles they are engaged in and allow the free unhindered import and export of food and fertilizer commodities wherever they are needed.
The West should also understand that the collapse of the grain deal will be a fatal blow to Ukraine economically as it will be in the rest of the world with an increase in inflation.
The writer is CEC Roads, Transport and Public Works Garissa County and a commentator on Foreign Affairs.