Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected the global wheat market, raising fears of hunger in some countries.
Apart from Russia and Ukraine, the United States, Australia and Canada are the largest exporters of wheat. Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey import the most wheat.
There are only a few countries in the world that produce enough wheat to use and export the rest.
“Everyone eats wheat, but not everyone has the ability to grow wheat,” says Bruno Permentier, an economist and author of the book Feeding Humanity.
While China is the largest producer of wheat, it has to import more wheat for its population of 14 billion.
Although there are more grains available in exchange for wheat, there is no one who likes the taste of every special and common. Wheat is ground in a mill to make flour and flour, which is then used to make double bread, noodles, and a variety of foods, including a variety of desserts.
Why did wheat prices rise?
Grain prices were even higher before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
One reason for this was that as the lockdown ended after the Corona decline and the economy began to recover, so did the price of fuel, as well as the price of nitrogen fertilizer.
The lifting of sanctions imposed by Corona has not only increased the demand for all kinds of goods, but has also disrupted the global supply line.
In addition, rising temperatures and heat waves in Canada also affected wheat production last year.
Why did the war worsen the situation?
Wheat prices have risen sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reaching ی 400 a tonne in European markets in May. Wheat prices have more than doubled since last winter.
The sharp rise in wheat prices has created more problems for developing countries.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 30 countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for about 30 percent of their wheat imports.
Ukraine and Russia are the main sources of grain supply for European countries. Europe meets 30 percent of its food needs by importing grain from these two countries.
Wheat production in Ukraine and Russia has increased over the past few years. Russia leads the world in wheat imports, while Ukraine is close to third.
Russia’s navy has blocked access to key Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, preventing Ukraine from importing 25 million tonnes of grain lying in various ports or fields.
Ukraine has supplied some of the grain by rail or road, which is still six times less than the supply from the sea.
On the other hand, China is not ready to release wheat from its reserves while India has imposed a partial ban on its import.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, global wheat production will reach about 775 million tonnes from 2022 to 2023, down 4.5 million tonnes from last year.
Saudi Food Security Vision 2030
Food waste is one of the main problems that poses a significant threat to food security. Other research has shown that 200 to 500 kg of food is wasted per capita.
One of the key goals of Saudi Vision 2030 is to implement a food security strategy to prevent food wastage.
World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 every year to keep food safe. This day commemorates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, established in 1945, with the goal of eradicating hunger from the world.
In November 1979, a delegation led by Dr. Paul Romney, former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture, suggested that the day be celebrated around the world.
Since then, food issues have been raised in more than 150 countries each year to raise awareness about poverty and hunger.
Muhammad Shams, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at King Saud University and associate editor of the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences and Frontiers of Ophthalmology, says rainfed lands and limited water resources are a barrier to large-scale agriculture. Are
Therefore, other efforts should be made to ensure food security such as enhancing the food system, improving food safety, reducing food waste, reducing food costs, alleviating poverty and promoting a healthy diet. ۔
Statistics show that about one-third of food is wasted worldwide, including in Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad Shams added that it affects the country’s economy and is also detrimental to global food security.
According to a report by the Saudi Food Organization in 2019, about 33% of total food is wasted, equivalent to 12,980 million Saudi riyals annually. Most of this is food waste at the level of retailers and consumers.
Lack of planning in the country’s hospitality, festivals and social events and serving large quantities of food is also a major cause of loss.
Mohammad Shams explained that most people order more food in restaurants but do not finish the whole meal, which leads to wastage of leftover food.
In the face of the global hunger crisis, food wastage is a waste of natural resources that also harms the ecosystem and biodiversity.
The professor says consumers should always buy food according to their plan, adopt better storage methods and recycle leftover food.
He said the Food and Agriculture Organization and other government agencies were working to reduce food wastage so that awareness could be raised and the law passed.
Charity groups and food banks should be further set up to help those in need.
He said that thousands of food banks have been set up all over the world. As of November 30, 2020, Attam, an organization in Saudi Arabia, has successfully distributed 100,464 packets of food to 82,653 needy families in the kingdom.
On World Food Day, it is important to raise awareness about the global hunger crisis and its causes, and to find solutions to the problems associated with it.