A food supply expert warns that the world faces a global crisis in just 10 weeks, echoing a warning from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food – our grain, barley, sunflower and more. A lot of things,” Zelenskyy said Saturday. “There will be a crisis in the world. The second crisis after the energy one, which was provoked by Russia.”
“Now it will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine, do not help the countries of Africa, Europe, Asia, which need these food products,” he added.
Zelenskyy said that if Ukraine does not regain control of the contested southern ports, the world will face a difficult situation: The country produces a substantial amount of the global food supply, including between 25% and 30% of the world’s grain supply along with Russia.
According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Ukraine also accounts for 9.29% of the world’s corn supply.
Russia currently has blockaded the ports of Odesa and Mariupol and the two countries continue to fight over it.
The world has only 10 weeks’ worth of wheat left to deal with the crisis, according to Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence.
“This is seismic,” Menker said during a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn’t going away anytime soon without concerted action.”
Gro Intelligence uses artificial intelligence and public and private data to predict food supply trends. Menker stresses that Russia’s invasion did not start a food security crisis, it did “fuel” what was already going on.
“Without aggressive global actions, we stand the risk of an extraordinary amount of human suffering and economic damage,” Menker said.