The Telegraph reports that Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine is causing food prices to fluctuate, and risks pushing families across the Middle East and North Africa into severe hunger.
Abeer Etefa, spokesperson for the World Food Programme, said: “We’ve had volatility in the market even in the past few days, because of worries of potential conflict. The price of grains has started to fluctuate.”
Ms Etefa added: “Food prices are already at a high. We’re worried that people in the Middle East and Africa could become even more vulnerable if supplies are disrupted.”
Timothy Lang, emeritus professor of food policy at City of London, explained: “We’re now in the era where food prices are volatile. Unlike 50-90 years ago when we had literal stocks, our food security now comes from financial markets. This means political volatility can push large numbers of people quickly into food insecurity.”
Prof Lang said: “Egypt is a tinderbox waiting to go up. It’s a very dangerous situation that’s being tested by Ukraine-Russia.”
Prof Lang added: “We can no longer assume that food is somehow apart from the political impacts of conflict.”
Ms Etefa said the world cannot afford another man-made conflict. “Conflict drives hunger, war will lead to greater food insecurity. We’re already facing an all-time high for humanitarian needs – just look at Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen. We cannot cope with another humanitarian crisis,” she said.