The UN World Food Program warned Monday that the food crisis is being compounded by a fertilizer crisis.
“If we don’t get fertilizers moving, you’re not going have just a food pricing problem, like we’re facing right now. You will have a food availability problem in 2023,” World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said at an IMF conference hosted by Saudi Arabia on tackling food insecurity.
“And when that happens, it will be hell on earth. It will be tragedy upon tragedy.”
He explained that half of the burden of feeding the world population of 7.75 billion people was dependent on fertilizer, not only the flow of grain from Ukraine’s ports. He warned that the present “economic factors are much much worse” – the COVID-19 pandemic, climate shocks, the Russia-Ukraine conflict to name a few – than earlier instances of unprecedented food price inflation in the 21st century, such as during the Arab uprisings.
Beasley added that long-term answer to the food crisis lay not in throwing money at the problem, but creating strategic financing and programs that developed sustainability and resilience.