War in Ukraine could lead to more food insecurity and higher carbon emissions

September 20, 2022
News

A recent study by Teaching Professor Amani Elobeid, with Jerome Dumortier and Miguel Carriquiry, examines the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global food security and climate change. The article published in Nature Food, found that, in addition to exacerbating current high food prices, the war, if it continues, may have long-term effects on the environment.  Russia and Ukraine are both large producers and exporters of agricultural commodities including corn and wheat.  The production shortfalls and reduction in exports in both countries trigger price increases of 4.6% and 7.2% for corn and wheat, respectively.  Other countries respond to the higher prices by increasing their production of these crops.  As land globally shifts to the production of corn and wheat, the prices of other crops such as soybeans, rice, barley, and sunflower also rise.  Increased production from countries such as Brazil, which is rich in biomass and soil carbon, results in higher carbon emissions from land-use change.  Food-deficit countries, already reeling from the higher food prices due to COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions, high energy costs, and drought-induced reductions in supply, have to contend with even higher prices due to the war.  The outcome is ore food insecurity particularly in populations already limited in terms of availability and access to food.

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