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748. Recent Food Price Inflation and Fertilizer Problems

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748. Recent Food Price Inflation and Fertilizer Problems

It is the end of March and the 2022 financial year is drawing to a close. Over the past year, one of the most significant threats to global food security has been the concern over the disruption of the global food supply chain following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Despite the recent stabilization of international prices, food price inflation continues around the world, with almost all low- and middle-income countries experiencing food price inflation of 5% or more between October 2022 and February 2023, and many countries reaching double-digit rates, according to a March 27 update from the World Bank. Many high-income countries also experienced high food price inflation.

The World Bank report also mentions the fertilizer problem. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries dependent on fertilizer from Russia and Belarus have had to find alternative sources of imports. While large importers such as Brazil may be able to find alternatives, it is difficult for smaller countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and it is noted that fertilizer consumption in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, may have fallen by nearly 25% by 2022, compared to an estimated 5% decline in global fertilizer consumption. Global fertilizer consumption is estimated to have fallen by 5% in 2022. High fertilizer prices and low supply may encourage many farmers to prioritize fertilizing cash crops over staple crops.

The fertilizer issue requires a balance between short-term crisis management and long-term industrial transformation. In particular, long-term industrial change requires reducing dependence on fossil fuels for ammonia production while correcting inefficient application practices - practices that undermine soil health, use excessive amounts of water and contribute to climate change.

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)


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