Global food prices are on an uptrend, which may lead to instability in several regions of the globe. The UN Special Advocate Queen Maxima said that hikes in these goods raise concern for many families.
The World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook reveals that energy prices for this year are expected to increase by 50%. Meanwhile, the price of wheat would rise by 40% or more.
In an interview, the advocate said, “An increase of food prices of the magnitude that we’re seeing, of energy prices, basically will mean that a lot of families are going to have from three or two meals a day to have one meal a day. And this, in turn, will actually give, probably, will be the source of even more instability in other regions. So that worries me a lot.”
Maxima added, “We’re going to be seeing now because of inflation, but we’re going to be seeing also in the next year because when you don’t have fertilizers, you cannot increase your yield. So, therefore, you’re going to see less produce coming out from Africa, which actually feeds each other there. So, you’re going to have less food, so the prices are even probably going to go up by even more, so very worrying.”
What adds to the problem, says Maxima, is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine – countries that are major sources of imports for many countries across the globe. The banning of exportation from these countries is what led to the increase in prices of commodities.
“Well, sadly, the concern is not only the conflict in and by itself, but in my role in financial inclusion for development, which is I want to reduce poverty, I want more girls to go to school, I want more people to have better futures.”
Further, the pandemic was the first to trigger an economic crisis that spread across the globe. However, Maxima told reporters that there were some positive aspects to the crisis because it motivated people to lean toward innovation and new technology which could benefit society.
“A lot of governments when the pandemic and the lockdown started, thought … this is the way for us to send money to the poorest and the most vulnerable people, that had to stay locked down, they couldn’t go to the markets and sell their produce, and this was a very important issue,” Maxima explained.
“So many, many countries have increased this, I would say, government-to-people payments in these two years, and they’ve actually discovered this financial inclusion tool to actually do a lot more other goals that they’re trying to attain.”
With food shortages looming, governments should be prepared to help their citizens face the crisis, says Maxima. Governments should do everything in their power to take precautionary steps to lessen the adverse effects of the impending supply shortages.