The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which are meeting in Washington and are grappling with the impact of the Russian conflict with Ukraine, are focusing on the growing crisis of food insecurity and the skyrocketing prices of food. The US Treasury Department said today that the US Treasury Secretary was meeting with leaders from the IMF, World Bank, Group of Seven (G7) and Group of 20 (G20) global organizations to “call on international financial institutions to accelerate and deepen their response” to countries facing food shortages exacerbated by the conflict.
According to the United Nations, Russia and the Ukraine produce 14% of the world’s wheat supply, and the loss of commodities due to the war has resulted in soaring food prices and uncertainty about the future of food security globally. This is particularly the case for the impoverished countries. The price of vegetable oils, cereals and meat has reached an all-time high according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index since 1990. Globally, 8 to 13 million people will be undernourished by 2023, with the greatest number in Asia-Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Near East and North Africa. There will be long-term impacts of this conflict beyond 2022-2023.