The United Nations’ Food chief is urging the public to prepare for famine and widespread food shortage next year amid a severe fertilizer supply shortage.
The pandemic, climate problems and the Russian, and Ukrainian war and inflation are crippling production of the global food supply production, World Food Program Director David Beasley told the Associated Press on Thursday.
“It’s a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm,” Beasley said. “And with the fertilizer crisis we’re facing right now, with droughts, we’re facing a food pricing problem in 2022. This created havoc around the world.
“If we don’t get on top of this quickly — and I don’t mean next year, I mean this year — you will have a food availability problem in 2023,” he said. “And that’s gonna be hell.”
Currently, the world produces enough food to feed over 7.7 billion people, but maintaining an adequate amount of fertilizer and farmers is crucial to producing at least 50 percent of that food, Beasely argued.
“We’ve got to get those fertilizers moving, and we’ve got to move it quickly,” he admonished. “Asian rice production is at a critical state right now Seeds are in the ground.”
Beasely said approximately 80 million people around the world were facing famine in 2017 when he began leading the World Food Program, but following the pandemic, climate crisis, and Russia – the Ukrainian war at least 276 million people around the world are struggling to access food.
“Climate problems increased that number to 135 million,” the AP notes. “The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in early 2020, doubled it to 276 million people not knowing where their next meal was coming from. Finally, Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, sparking a war and a food, fertilizer and energy crisis that has pushed the number to 345 million.”
“Within that are 50 million people in 45 countries knocking on famine’s door,” Beasley added. “If we don’t reach these people, you will have famine, starvation, destabilization of nations unlike anything we saw in 2007-2008 and 2011, and you will have mass migration.
“We’ve got to respond now.”
Grain shipments from Ukraine, a country that were been halted throughout the country’s war with Russia. Shipments from Russia, a major food producer and the world’s second-largest exporter of fertilizer, continue to sharply curtail Russia – struggle to get it distributed its fertilizer to world markets. China, the world’s top fertilizer producer, has banned its export.
The droughts and heat are disrupting food security in Central America, South America, India and Africa, Beasely claimed.
Approximately 3.3. million small farms manufacture food for over 70 percent of Africa’spopulation, but drought has resulted in the country falling “several billion dollars short of what we need for fertilizers,” he said. “We’ve got to get the grains moving, we’ve got to get the fertilizer out there for everybody, and we need to end the wars.”
The United States has allocated $5 billion to the WFP for food security but unless more wealthy donors and billionaires donate their profits to invest in fertilizer production, ” Beasley argued.
“We’re not talking about asking for a trillion dollars here,” Beasley said. “We’re just talking about asking for a few days’ worths of your profits to stabilize the world.”
The WFP chief, who convened with world leaders at last week’s UN General Assembly, said he told a group of billionaires on Wednesday night that they have “a moral obligation” and “need to care.”
“Even if you don’t give it to me, even if you don’t give it to the World Food Program, get in the game. Get in the game of loving your neighbor and helping your neighbor,” Beasely said. “People are suffering and dying around the world. When a child dies every five seconds from hunger, shame on us.”