Nearly 200 million people in 53 countries experience acute hunger every day in 2021, an increase of 40 million in twelve months, Maurizio Martina, vice director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization), said in an interview with Corriere della Sera.
According to World Bank estimates, a 1% increase in the price of basic foodstuffs could mean the risk of starvation for at least 10 million people. No single national policy can address global food insecurity alone. We need a new multi-stakeholder season, starting with food, he noted.
Italy imported about 13% of corn from Ukraine. For soft wheat, direct imports are lower at about 3%, but Italy certainly also suffers from the indirect effect of rising prices on the world market. In general, wheat exports from Ukraine to Europe in 2020 amounted to about 5.4 billion euros. For developing countries, the situation is much more delicate and worrisome: at least 36 of the 55 countries with a food crisis depend on exports from Ukraine and Russia for more than 10% of their total wheat imports, Martina added.
He warned that in addition to the problem of tons of primary agricultural commodities such as wheat and corn sitting in ports for weeks at risk of dying every day, there is a negative effect on fertilizer prices and availability.
If prices remain so high, and access to them becomes increasingly difficult for farmers in developing countries, the consequences will be very problematic and will lead to a sharp reduction in yields, the UN representative concluded.