The Ukraine War and Food Security Crisis

  • Demetris PSALTOPOULOS Professor, Dept. of Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Keywords: Food security, Ukranian war, food crises.

Abstract

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a humanitarian crisis, while simultaneously disrupting global agricultural markets and energy systems. Developing countries, especially those highly dependent on imported grains and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia are expected to be mostly affected. The crisis is expected to have serious consequences for European food supply and further exacerbate an already challenging situation for European farmers. 

Limiting the conflict’s impacts on global agri-food systems requires effective national policies and global collaboration. Policy initiatives should trigger a short-term response through keeping trade open and supporting consumers (especially the vulnerable) and farmers. But they should also keep a medium- and longer-term outlook towards improving the resilience of food systems to future shocks; systems that are also inclusive and deliver food and guarantee nutrition security. This short paper aims to highlight the likely impacts of the current food crisis and propose policy options for food security at the country level.

Both short- and medium-to-long-term policy actions should be implemented at the country level to further improve food security. Policy actions should deal with the risks emanating by the crisis, and at the same time, align with the strategic aim to promote a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive agri-food sector.

Targeted short-term actions should contribute to facilitating free trade and to supporting consumers and vulnerable households and farmers. Trade restrictions on agri-food exports must be avoided and assistance must be provided to farmers so that they can cope with higher costs. Targeted measures should aim at reducing consumer exposure to the crisis and providing relief to most vulnerable groups, including refugees.

Longer-term actions should be structural and transformative, aiming at a more productive, resource-efficient, diverse, and nutritious food system. Public spending must be better targeted, coupled by private funding mobilization. Investments on innovation and R&D must be pursued. International and domestic supplier networks should be diversified. Productive partnerships between local agricultural producers and buyers downstream the agri-food value chain should be supported. The sustainable intensification of high potential crop land through precision agriculture technologies and climate smart agricultural practices should be incentivized. Integrated agricultural knowledge and innovation systems that deliver advisory support services to producers for sustainable productivity growth and resilience should be developed. Finally, local consumption patterns should shift towards healthier and more sustainable diets.

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Published
2022-11-03
Section
Articles