According to World Bank President David Malpass, the world is facing a “human catastrophe” as a result of the food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
If the situation persists, he told the media, historic increases in food costs will force hundreds of millions of people into poverty and lead to poor nutrition.
Food costs might rise by a “huge” 37 percent, according to the World Bank.
The poorest people would be the greatest hurt, as they would “eat less and have less money for anything else, such as schooling.”
Mr Malpass, who heads the agency tasked with global poverty eradication, said in an interview with CNN economics editor Faisal Islam that the impact on the poor made it “an unjust sort of crisis… that was true also of Covid.”
“It’s a human crisis, which means that nutrition suffers. But it also presents a political headache for governments that are unable to do anything about it since they did not generate it and are seeing prices rise “On the eve of the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington, he remarked.
“It’s influencing food of all various sorts of oils, grains, and then it spreads into other crops, maize crops, because they go up when wheat goes up,” he explained.
He said that there was enough food in the world to feed everyone, and that worldwide stockpiles were huge by historical standards, but that the food would have to be shared or sold to get it to where it was needed.
Mr. Malpass also warned against nations subsidizing manufacturing or setting price ceilings.
Instead, he argued, the focus should be on expanding global fertiliser and food supplies, as well as targeted help for the world’s poorest people.
In addition, the World Bank head warned of a “crisis inside a crisis” resulting from poor nations’ incapacity to service their enormous epidemic loans in the face of rising food and energy prices.
“This is a serious possibility. Some nations are experiencing this, but we don’t know how far it will spread. Currently, 60 percent of the world’s poorest countries are either in debt trouble or on the verge of becoming so “”I’m under a lot of pressure,” he explained.
“We must be concerned about a debt crisis; the best thing to do is to begin looking for measures to lower the debt load for nations with unsustainable debt as soon as possible; the longer you wait, the worse it will get,” he said.
The United Nations warned earlier this month that the Ukraine war had caused a “giant rise” in food prices, which had reached a new high in March.
It happened when the conflict cut off supply from the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, driving up the price of substitutes.
Ukraine is also a large producer of grains like maize and wheat, both of which have seen significant price increases.
“War in the Black Sea area sent shocks through markets for basic cereals and vegetable oils,” according to the United Nations.
The UN Food Prices Index measures the average prices of grain, vegetable oil, dairy, meat, and sugar, which are the world’s most traded food commodities.
According to the index, food costs are at their highest level since records began 60 years ago, after jumping over 13% in March, following February’s record high.
Because of worldwide harvest concerns, food commodity prices were already at 10-year highs before the crisis in Ukraine, according to the index.