The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported Wednesday that the cost of global food imports is on track to exceed $2.0 trillion in 2022, putting a strain on the world’s poorest countries, who will have imported significantly lower quantities of food.
Ukraine is a major grains and oilseed producer in the world and after Russia invaded Ukraine in March, global food prices skyrocketed to record highs and have only since partially recovered, although they are still significantly higher than this time last year.
This high price is hurting countries with weak economies more than others and this is likely to keep happening next year. However, the overall situation with agricultural supplies is expected to get better.
In its twice-yearly Food Outlook report, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said, “These are alarming signs from the point of view of food security.”
The FAO also says that the world’s food import bill is expected to reach $1.94 trillion this year, which is 10 percent more than last year and more than was expected before.
According to FAO, the amount of food that low-income countries import is expected to drop by 10 percent while their food import bill for the year stays almost the same, which points to growing problems with access.
“Importers are finding it hard to pay for rising international prices, which could mean the end of their ability to deal with higher prices abroad,” the FAO said.
It is expected that the global cost of importing agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, which require a lot of energy to make, will rise by almost 50 percent this year, to $424 billion, which will force some countries to buy and use less.
This will lead to lower productivity, less food in the country, and “negative effects on global agricultural output and food security” in 2023, the report said.