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World Likely To Face More Severe Food Shortages In 2022 UN Report

INTERNATIONAL: Countries around the world are likely to face even more severe food shortages in 2022 with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis set to have the biggest impact on lower-income countries, a newly-released United Nations report has warned.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out in the report that the world faces an unprecedented hunger crisis, with food prices having never been higher and the lives and livelihoods of millions left hanging in the balance.

He said the situation in Ukraine is exacerbating a food, energy, and financial crisis that will have a devastating impact on the world's most vulnerable countries.

Jointly issued by 17 agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the report covers the food situation of 53 countries in 2021 and forecasts the situation in 2022 for 41 countries.

It said that last year, 193 million people across 53 countries were at risk of food insecurity, a significant increase from 2020, while the global food security situation is expected to worsen in 2022.

The report also says the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is expected to further reduce global food security.

Since Russia and Ukraine are the world's leading exporters of a wide range of food crops, the conflict between the two could greatly exacerbate the existing food crisis, the report warned.

The WFP's Chief Economist Arif Husain told the China Media Group (CMG) on Wednesday that the food security of some of the world's less prosperous nations will be greatly influenced by the ongoing conflict.

"There is not much grain or commodities coming out of Ukraine. There are commodities coming out of Russia but they are coming out at a much higher cost," said the economist.

"So now put yourself in a position where in a low-income country or a lower, middle-income country where you were, let's say, spending 50 percent of your income or more on food. And suddenly your food got more expensive. This is what we are seeing in many parts of the world as we speak," he said.

Husain also warned of the longer term concerns, emphasizing that as Ukraine is a major fertilizer exporter; the current conflict could lead to a significant global fertilizer supply crisis that will severely affect the next farming season.

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