Africa is being organized in the face of the risks of food crises

The Russian offensive in Ukraine, which began on February 24, has already displaced more than three million people. And its impact on food security is worrying, as Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the world’s grain exports. And a significant portion is destined for the African continent and Lebanon. Faced with serious risks of a food crisis, the states on the continent are multiplying measures to try to limit inflation and the shortage of stocks.

Algeria is the latest country to take action to address the risks food crises linked to the war in Ukraine. They are already facing tensions from certain food products in their markets and therefore decided this weekend to ban the export of consumer products whose raw material is imported. Sugar, pasta or even semolina are affected. A bill is even being drafted to punish these exports, which are considered “an act of sabotage against the national economy”.

The same kind of restrictions in Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer. African countries are trying to conserve their food resources and trying to limit inflation. Measures have thus been taken in recent weeks by Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. In some countries such as Nigeria, demands for action are being heard. Billionaire Aliko Dangote said he was worried about a corn shortage and more generally an “imminent” food crisis. Analysts predict significant inflation of certain foods on the continent. Sudan, for example, is already experiencing cost-of-living marches.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) estimates that 28 million people in the region may be food insecure. The continent has already been hit by the covid-19 crisis. The Ukrainian conflict has exacerbated these problems with dependence on food and certain manufactured products.

Alain Sy Traoré is Head of Agriculture and Rural Development at the ECOWAS Commission. For him, two major phenomena are to be expected with this new conflict: the increase in fertilizer prices and the decrease in grain stocks with the cessation of grain imports from Ukraine and Russia. He does not hide his pessimism:

– Stocks are at their lowest level. (…) Regardless of whether it is fertilizer or grain, we are in a time when orders should normally have already been placed ”

The effects of the Ukrainian conflict on agriculture in Africa: concerns for Alain Sy Traoré (ECOWAS)

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