War in Ukraine sends food prices soaring globally WFP warns – ‘Hell on earth’

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN World Food Programme

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Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme David Beasley, who served one term as the 113th Governor of South Carolina from 1995 until 1999, said that this would have a catastrophic impact on the world’s poorest people. Mr Beasley warned the devastating invasion of Ukraine would put more people at risk of starvation.

He said: “Just when you think hell on earth can’t get any worse, it does.”

Russia and Ukraine were once known as the “breadbasket of Europe” and export about a quarter of the world’s wheat and half its sunflower products such as seeds and oil.

Ukraine also sells a lot of corn internationally.

Production and supply chains are likely to be severely disrupted due to the war.

At the same time prices are likely to increase with analysts warning that global wheat prices could double.

Mr Beasley told the BBC World Service’s Business Daily programme that the number of people facing possible starvation had increased from 76 million to 276 million since 2018.

This was because of a “perfect storm” of conflict, climate change and coronavirus.

Mr Beasley argued that certain countries dependent on grain from Ukraine could be hit very hard by the crisis. 

He said: “The country of Lebanon, 50 percent, give or take, of their grains, come from Ukraine.

“Yemen, Syria, Tunisia – and I could go on and on – depend on the country of Ukraine as a breadbasket.

“So, you’re going from being a breadbasket to now, literally, having to hand out bread to them.

“It’s just an incredible reverse of reality.” 

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In Ukraine itself, many farmers and agricultural workers have taken up arms against the Russian military.

At the same time the Ukrainian military has suspended all commercial shipping causing further havoc for supply chains.

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