Saudi finance minister warns of growing global food crisis caused by Ukraine war

1 month ago
ARTICLE AD

Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia's concern minister, astatine the World Economic Forum successful Davos, Switzerland

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Several countries are raising the alarm implicit the increasing situation successful planetary nutrient supplies triggered by Russia's penetration of Ukraine. The warring states are among the world's apical cultivation exporters and provender overmuch of the processing satellite successful particular.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan believes the satellite is not taking it earnestly enough.

"I deliberation this is simply a precise superior issue. The nutrient situation is real. I deliberation it is inactive underestimated by the satellite community," al-Jadaan told CNBC's Hadley Gamble astatine the World Economic Forum successful Davos.

"It is going to origin a batch of issues, not lone successful the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, but adjacent successful the wider world.

"The MENA portion is very, very, precise vulnerable," the concern main added. "It imports a batch of food, it represents 26% of the colonisation successful the world."

Russia's unprovoked penetration of Ukraine present threatens a immense proportionality of the wheat and atom that countries successful the Middle East and Africa trust on. Together, Russia and Ukraine relationship for astir one-third of the world's planetary wheat exports, astir 20% of its corn, and 80% of its sunflower lipid — and they supply the bulk of the MENA region's supply. 

Wheat futures are up much than 30% since the penetration began successful precocious February.

Before the war, implicit 95% of Ukraine's full grain, wheat and maize exports were shipped retired via the Black Sea, and fractional of those exports went to MENA countries. That captious conduit is present shut, choking disconnected Ukraine's maritime commercialized aft its ports came nether onslaught from Russia's military. 

That has amplified the rising ostentation that's hitting hundreds of millions of people, peculiarly those successful mediocre areas and already facing precocious unemployment and worsening economical prospects.

Saudi Arabia successful precocious March pledged $15 cardinal successful economical assistance for Egypt, the Middle East's astir populous country, arsenic its system was deed hard by record-high atom prices arsenic a effect of the war. Egypt is besides seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund to enactment its ailing economy.

A husbandman wears a bulletproof vest during harvest sowing adjacent the Zaporizhzhia Region, southeastern Ukraine.

Dmytro Smoliyenko | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Egypt unsocial — with its burgeoning colonisation of immoderate 100 cardinal radical — imports 80% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia. Lebanon, already years into a crippling indebtedness and ostentation crisis, imports 60% of its wheat from the 2 warring countries, which supply 80% of Tunisia's grain. Food insecurity successful the MENA portion has often been associated with governmental instability, riots and violence.     

"So we request to beryllium precise cautious connected what is happening successful the region," al-Jadaan said. "We volition supply the enactment needed arsenic overmuch arsenic we can, but it's not lone america — this is simply a planetary occupation that we request to enactment collaboratively with the satellite to bring astir solutions."

Al-Jadaan cited Saudi Arabia's erstwhile efforts wrong the G-20 to enactment with different subordinate states successful addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery, saying that collaboration crossed governments and regions had helped bring astir solutions. "I deliberation the nutrient situation calls for specified collaboration," helium said.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook