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Farmers harvesting grains as food insecurity affects more and more countries. Photo: Ray Witlin/World Bank
Download: Food Security Update – July 15, 2022
July 15, 2022 – Record high food prices have triggered a global crisis that will drive millions more into extreme poverty, magnifying hunger and malnutrition, while threatening to erase hard-won gains in development. The war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, and the continued economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic are reversing years of development gains and pushing food prices to all-time highs. Rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low- and middle-income countries, since they spend a larger share of their income on food than people in high-income countries. This brief looks at rising food insecurity and World Bank responses to date.
Domestic food price inflation remains high around the world.
According to the World Bank’s April 2022 Commodity Markets Outlook,
Food prices were already high before, and the war is driving food prices even higher. Commodities that have been most affected are wheat, maize, edible oils, and fertilizers. Global commodity markets face upside risks through the following channels: reduction in grain supplies, higher energy prices, higher fertilizer prices, and trade disruption due to shutting down of major ports.
Over the coming months, a major challenge will be access to fertilizers which may impact food production across many crops in different regions. Russia and Belarus are major fertilizer exporters, accounting for 38% of potassic fertilizers, 17% of compound fertilizers, and 15% of nitrogenous fertilizers.
On April 13, 2022, The heads of the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, United Nations World Food Programme, and World Trade Organization released a joint statement calling on the international community for urgent action to address food insecurity, to keep trade open and support vulnerable countries, including by providing financing to meet the most urgent needs.
Following the start of the war in Ukraine, trade-related policies imposed by countries have surged. The global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices. As of July 15, 18 countries have implemented 27 food export bans, and seven have implemented 11 export-limiting measures.
Globally, hunger levels remain alarmingly high. According to the 2022 State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) report, the number of people affected by hunger rose in 2021 to 828 million, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, WFP and FAO warned that acute food insecurity could worsen in 20 countries or areas during June to September 2022.
Rapid phone surveys done by the World Bank in 83 countries show a significant number of people running out of food or reducing their consumption in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduced calorie intake and compromised nutrition threaten gains in poverty reduction and health and could have lasting impacts on the cognitive development of young children.
World Bank Support
In the face of multiple crises, the World Bank is deploying short- and long-term responses to boost food and nutrition security, reduce risks, and strengthen food systems.
On May 18, the World Bank announced actions it plans to take as part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation. This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.
The World Bank Group and the G7 Presidency co-convened the Global Alliance for Food Security on May 19, which aims to catalyze an immediate and concerted response to the unfolding global hunger crisis.
Examples of the World Bank’s support to countries to alleviate food insecurity include:
Last Updated: Jul 15, 2022