The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, UN World Food Programme and World Trade Organization have called for urgent, coordinated action on food security.
Reuters reports that they have appealed also to countries to avoid banning food or fertiliser exports.
In a joint statement, the leaders of the four institutions warned that the war in Ukraine was adding to existing pressures from the Covid-19 crisis, climate change and increased fragility and conflict, threatening millions of people worldwide.
Sharply higher prices for staples and supply shortages were fuelling pressure on households, they said. The threat is greatest to the poorest countries, but vulnerability was also increasing rapidly in middle-income countries, which host the majority of the world’s poor.
The crises could fuel social tensions in many of the affected countries, especially those that are already fragile or affected by conflict, they warned.
They said the rise in food prices was compounded by a dramatic increase in the cost of natural gas, a key ingredient of nitrogenous fertiliser, which could threaten food production in many countries.