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Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War on Global Food Security: Towards More Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems?

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-05-24, 08:52 and posted on 2023-05-24, 09:17 authored by Tarek Ben Hassen, Hamid El Bilali

As a conflict between two major agricultural powers, the Russia–Ukraine war has various negative socioeconomic impacts that are now being felt internationally and might worsen, notably, for global food security. If the war deepens, the food crisis will worsen, posing a challenge to many countries, especially those that rely on food imports, such as those in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Simultaneously, the war came at a bad time for global food markets because food prices were already high due to disruptions in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, strong global demand, and poor harvests in some countries. Understanding how conflictrelated disruptions in global food and fertilizer markets might affect price and availability is critical for understanding the overall impact on global food security. Further, four months into the war, its implications for food security suggest that this review is timely, urgent, and highly needed. Accordingly, this paper aims to investigate the Russia–Ukraine war’s direct and indirect impact on global food security. The paper highlights that the war resulted in immediate and far-reaching cascading consequences on global food security: Ukrainian exports have stopped, conscription and population displacement have caused labor shortages, access to fertilizers is restricted, and future harvests are uncertain. First, Ukraine’s export capacity has been hampered. Secondly, conscription and population displacement caused labor shortages. Thirdly, access to vital agricultural products such as fertilizers is also constrained. The war may delay spring planting and winter crop harvesting. Further, the war has indirect and cascading effects. Indeed, rising fertilizer costs may reduce their use and crop yields. Moreover, as seen during the 2007–2008 food crisis, export restrictions and speculation are driving up international prices and worsening the situation. Furthermore, the war triggered a panic buying movement at country and individual levels. Finally, the war may jeopardize the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), and DG 12 (Responsible consumption and production). However, the consequences of the war on food security are being exacerbated by a variety of underlying rigidities, vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies in global food systems. Accordingly, the transition toward healthy, equitable, and ecologically sustainable food systems must be strengthened by adopting urgent and long-term reforms and policies.

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Published in: Foods
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Arts and Sciences - QU

Geographic coverage

Russia, Ukraine

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