The United Nations warned that food prices and long standing economic issues in poor countries throughout Africa could lead to tens of millions of starvation deaths.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said there is a “real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022.” He said 2023 could be even worse. The UN warned that 20 million people could go hungry in Ethiopia alone in 2022.
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa rely on Ukraine for their wheat imports, which have been disrupted due to the war. There has also been a sharp spike in fuel and fertilizer prices that have compounded the problem, the Financial Times reported.
Russia has been blamed for blocking millions of tons of grain, a charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off as having nothing to do with the crisis.
The FT reported that many of these countries are facing lingering economic issues stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
The Trends Journal has warned for the better part of two years that the COVID-19 War launched by politicians and subsequent draconian lockdown orders will kill more people than the virus as it would accelerate the number of the world’s poorest who face starvation. (See “COVID WAR AND CIVIL WARS: KILLING MORE THAN THE VIRUS.”)
Months before the first missile was launched in Ukraine, the World Food Programme (WFP), the anti-hunger agency of the UN, estimated that 45 million people were on the “edge of famine.”
David Beasley, the head of the UN organization, said, “We’ve got conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 driving up the numbers of the acutely hungry, and the latest data show there are now more than 45 million people marching towards the brink of starvation.”
Countries like Ethiopia have seen food prices jump by 42.9 percent due to conflict and drought. The prices for vegetable oil and cereals are up in the country by over 89 percent and 37 percent year-on-year, the UN said. The war in Tigray has left over 20 percent of children under the age of five and pregnant women malnourished, the WFP said.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization now estimates that more than 40 million people in the Sahel and west Africa face food insecurity, which the FT pointed out is 10.8 million more than three years ago.
Dymtro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said Russia needs to lift its blockade in order for the country to begin exporting grain again.
TREND FORECAST: While the UN said the number of people living in famine conditions is up 500 percent since 2016, and about 270 million people worldwide are facing extreme food insecurity, and this could lead to social unrest, it is old news for Trends Journal subscribers. Indeed, it “will” and not “could” lead to social unrest. (See “NEW WORLD DISORDER TOP TREND: NATIONS SINKING DEEPER, PEOPLE SCREAMING LOUDER.”)
In fact, this was one of our Top Trends for 2020. Back in 2019, across the continents, people were taking to the streets in protest of basic living standards, government corruption, crime and violence.
The demonstrations were stopped by governments when the COVID War broke out in February/March of 2020 and people were locked down and forbidden to protest.
Now, with both the COVID War which has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of billions and the Ukraine War which has driven up various commodity prices, the levels of protest and demonstrations will dramatically escalate… and so too will the refugee crisis, as more people flee their economically ravaged crime ridden nations.
This in turn will escalate new anti-immigrant and populist movements in nations refugees are fleeing into.
TREND FORECAST SELF-SUFFICIENCY TREND: Fred Munene, an agronomist and farmer in Kenya, said Africa should invest in its farm economy to be food secure so it no longer need to rely on Europe food imports, Voice of America reported.
“The short term is getting the food that is already produced,” Munene said. “In the long term, look for other suppliers or industries in Africa that will supply fertilizers and other farm inputs because that’s the biggest challenge.”
The trend toward self-sufficiency will see companies and countries cultivating homegrown capabilities across a range of critical industries, energy independence and agricultural production.
Bloomberg also reported that African countries are seeking alternatives to wheat in the meantime like cassava, fonio, and teff.
The report pointed to how food processors in Nigeria are producing more cassava starch and flour.
“I’m excited that our people are switching to locally sourced, high-quality, nutritious alternatives and that processors are also being compelled to look inward and see what can we find in our own backyard,” Ndidi Nwuneli, co-founder of Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition, said in an interview said.