The developing world could soon be faced with significant food shortages if Ukraine is unable to export crop products, according to the governor of the Bank of England.
Andrew Bailey was speaking to a House of Commons committee (similar to Ireland’s joint Oireachtas committees) yesterday (Monday, May 16), where he addressed the issue of inflation in the UK and further afield.
Addressing the issue of food price inflation specifically, Bailey said: “This is a big concern.”
He referenced recent remarks from the finance minister of Ukraine, who, according to Bailey, said that Ukraine “does have food in store, but can’t get it out”.
“While [the Ukrainian minister] was pretty optimistic about crop planting, he said they have no way of shipping it out at the moment as things stand, and it’s getting worse,” Bailey told MPs.
He added: “That is a major worry, and it’s not just a major worry, I have to tell you, for this country [the UK]; it is a major worry for the developing world as well.
“Sorry for being apocalyptic, but that’s a major concern,” the Bank of England chief warned.
He noted that Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and cooking oils.
On Sunday just gone (May 15) Taoiseach Micheál Martin touched on this issue during the annual Famine Commemoration Ceremony in Co. Roscommon.
The Taoiseach said: “In Somalia alone, six million people are again affected by food insecurity only 10 years after 250,000 people, many of them children, died from hunger.”
Also last week, Irish MEP Colm Markey highlighted the same concerns regarding food security and the developing world.
The Midlands North-West MEP said that food shortages, caused by the war in Ukraine, could lead to a new wave of migration from Africa towards Europe.
Ukraine and Russia both play a major role in the global food markets, being key exporters of crops such as wheat, maize and barley, along with sunflower oil.
“I think the real impact here is not necessarily in Europe but in developing countries,” Colm Markey told EuroParlRadio.
“45% of the poorest countries in the world import half of their wheat from either Ukraine or Russia. These countries are extremely exposed and vulnerable,” he stressed.
The Fine Gael MEP also referenced Somalia, where, he noted, a significant drought is ongoing which, combined with financial pressure and food costs, is “essentially the perfect storm”.
“The knock-on effect of famine in north Africa means a potential immigrant crisis of a different sort into Europe that’s not war-driven, but famine-driven,” Markey stressed.