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The impact of conflict in Ukraine on global food security – statement by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD

03 mars 2022

At IFAD we are following the situation in Ukraine with a heavy heart. We deplore the loss of life and displacement of populations, and we join the call of the UN Secretary General to end military operations, restore peace and protect human rights.

Conflict and hunger are closely intertwined – when one escalates, the other usually follows. As in any crisis, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are hardest hit, and in our globalised world, the impact of this conflict will reverberate across continents. At IFAD, we are very concerned that an extended conflict in Ukraine could limit the world’s supply of staple crops like wheat, corn and sunflower oil, resulting in the skyrocketing of food prices and hunger. This could jeopardise global food security and heighten geopolitical tensions.

This area of the Black Sea plays a major role in the global food system, exporting at least 12 percent of the food calories traded in the world. Forty percent of wheat and corn exports from Ukraine go to the Middle East and Africa, which are already grappling with hunger issues, and where further food shortages or price increases could stoke social unrest.

Currently one in ten people in the world do not have enough to eat, and millions have been pushed into poverty and hunger by the impact of extreme weather events and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The continuation of this conflict, already a tragedy for those directly involved, will be catastrophic for the entire world, and particularly those that are already struggling to feed their families.

IFAD is committed to continue its work to increase the food self-sufficiency and resilience of the world’s poorest countries, but in the short-term it will be difficult to mitigate the global impacts of this crisis. Stopping the conflict now is the only solution.