Updated Mar 18, 2022 - World

UN warns Ukraine's food supply chain is "falling apart"

Food grains in Yemen

Yemenis shop to buy wheat, flour and daily basics in February of 2022. Yemen relies on Ukraine for its wheat, which may lead to further hunger within Yemen due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Ukraine's food supply chain is "falling apart" under stress from Russia's invasion, potentially undermining food security around the world, the United Nations warned on Friday.

Driving the news: The World Food Program said wheat shipments were largely on hold from both Russia and Ukraine, which combined account for 30% of the world's wheat trade.

  • Jakob Kern, a senior manager at the World Food Program, warned of "collateral hunger" in some Middle Eastern countries that rely heavily on Ukraine for wheat.
  • Lebanon in particular imports more than 60% of its wheat from Ukraine, Kern said.

Details: Kern said that the World Food Program has mobilized food supplies for the more than 3 million people immediately affected, but said it would need more resources to fill food insecurities worldwide.

  • The price of wheat has gone up substantially this year. Kern said a combination of inflation and the invasion has led prices to go up by about $70 million to feed 4 million people.

What they're saying: "The consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, are radiating outwards, triggering a wave of collateral hunger across the globe," Kern said.

  • "Food insecurity and in turn food into insecurity increases the chances of unrest and violence. Ukraine is the catalyst of compounding what is already a year of catastrophic karma," he added.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres this week urged countries to consider the global consequences of Russia's invasion, saying "this war goes far beyond Ukraine."

  • "It is also an assault on the world’s most vulnerable people and countries," he added. "All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe."

Go deeper: UN leaders urge the world to not forget about other global crises

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