Members' Research Service By / September 30, 2022

Russia’s war on Ukraine: Impact on global food security and EU response

Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine raised widespread international concern of a global food crisis similar to, or worse than, the one the world faced in 2007 2008.

© katatonia / Adobe Stock

Written by Anna Caprile and Eric Pichon.

Besides huge human losses and destruction, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine – the ‘breadbasket of Europe’ – has triggered energy and food supply challenges, exacerbating existing food systems vulnerabilities, already weakened under the effect of climate change and the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Fears of an unprecedented global food crisis similar to, or even worse than, the 2007‑2008 crisis have mounted, magnifying ripple effects for security, migration and political instability. The supply shock provoked by the blockade of Ukrainian exports, coupled with record price levels for energy and basic commodities, led several nations to adopt export restrictions, fuelling market shocks and speculative operations, leading to unpredictability in global food supply.

As the war continues and the stakes become higher, Russia has increasingly been using food shortage fears as a new weapon in its hybrid war, and food security has been at the top of the international political agenda since February 2022.

The response of the international community, including a United Nations–Turkey-brokered agreement to unblock exports from Black Sea ports, has calmed fears of an imminent widespread food global crisis. A number of food import and food aid-dependent countries, however, remain highly vulnerable to food price and foreign exchange volatility.  

This publication updates and expands an ‘at a glance’ note from April 2022.

Food security in the EU

Read the complete briefing on ‘Russia’s war on Ukraine: Impact on global food security and EU response‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Global exports of basic commodities: Russia’s and Ukraine’s shares (2021)

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