The world has entered a stage of food insecurity with a crisis that threatens more than 250 million people in 45 countries, including Lebanon, which comes second in the list of countries with the highest food prices, only Zimbabwe is ahead of it, followed by Venezuela and Sri Lanka, according to a recent report by the World Bank, which indicated that A famine will hit Somalia from October to December next, as a result of several factors, including: lack of humanitarian aid, worsening drought, and the consequent decrease in agricultural rates, in addition to the deterioration in services.
According to the report, food insecurity will widen, driven by persistently high inflation in low- and middle-income countries. Some high-income countries are also candidates due to high inflation rates.
Within the food crisis comes the rate of increase in grain prices, as the wheat crisis was exacerbated by the Russian-Ukrainian war, as well as rice, for which India – the largest exporter in the world – imposed trade restrictions on certain types of it.
In general, food price inflation is still high around the world, affected by what information showed about the period between May and August 2022 regarding a rise in inflation rates, which recorded about 93.3% in low-income countries, and 90.9% in the lower bracket of middle-income countries, and 93% in upper-middle-income countries.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that 58 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are threatened by hunger. Including 29.5 million children in Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, due to escalating political conflicts.
Africa and the Middle East
During the past year, Mozambique, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe topped the countries with the highest cost of the food basket. And it was among the 53 countries suffering from a food crisis in 2021. While climate conditions, trade restrictions and war add more ongoing challenges to it with regard to food prices in 2022.
The report expected the crisis to continue in the Arab region and the Middle East, due to disruptions in global supply chains. Food price inflation in Tunisia reached 11.9%. As a result, the overall inflation rate rose to 8.6%, the highest level since 1991.
Tunisian markets suffer from a shortage of some imported foodstuffs, including rice, sugar and vegetable oils.
In Egypt and Morocco, food price indices increased during July 2022. The level of increase was about 12.0% and 22.4%, respectively, compared to July 2021 prices.
Morocco’s grain production this year has been exceptionally low. Where only 33% of the crop was harvested due to severe drought and low rainfall.
rise until the end of 2024
The report indicated that the rise in food prices is expected to continue in the future, motivated by several political and economic factors, affected by the war in Ukraine, which exacerbated the trade-related policies imposed by countries, the global food crisis with the increasing restrictions imposed on food trade that it places, with the aim of increasing local supplies and reducing prices. .
As of September 15, 21 countries have implemented 30 food export bans, and six countries have implemented 11 measures to limit exports.
The war crisis in Ukraine has brought about changes in the global patterns of trade, production and consumption of primary commodities in a way that will keep prices at high levels until the end of 2024.
The end result will be worsening food insecurity and inflation. This is also confirmed by the mid-year update of the Global Report on Food Crises 2022.