War causing severe cost-of-living crisis no country can escape: UN | Business Standard News

Clipped from: https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/war-causing-severe-cost-of-living-crisis-no-country-can-escape-un-122061000054_1.html

An FAO index of food prices surged to a record earlier this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine curtails shipments from one of the world’s biggest suppliers of vegetable oils and grains

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

The report showed a growing schism in the diets of rich and poor nations because of the price surge.

Food imports are expected to total $1.81 trillion this year, surpassing an all-time high set last year by $51 billion, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a report Thursday. Almost all of that is because of inflation, which is worsening a cost-of-living crisis in developed nations and deepening hunger in poorer countries.

An FAO index of food prices surged to a record earlier this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine curtails shipments from one of the world’s biggest suppliers of vegetable oils and grains. Soaring energy and fertiliser prices are also making it increasingly expensive to produce crops and livestock. That’s raised concerns about global hunger, and the report shows the spike in food costs is already taking a toll on vulnerable areas.

The report showed a growing schism in the diets of rich and poor nations because of the price surge.

Developed countries are still bringing in all varieties of food, while emerging regions are expected to increasingly shirk high-value products like meat, oilseeds and beverages to focus on staples, reducing the diversity and quality of diets, it said.

The largest cost-of-living crisis of the 21st century has come when people and countries have a limited capacity to cope,” said the second report of the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance over the Ukraine conflict.

“These are alarming signs from a food security perspective, indicating that importers will find it difficult to finance rising international costs,” the report said. “The message of today’s report is clear and insistent: we must act now to save lives & livelihoods over the next months and years”, said António Guterres, secretary General of the UN in a tweet.

The bulk of the almost 3 per cent increase in the global import bill is due to rising costs and not because the world is buying more food, the FAO said.

Food purchases by least-developed nations will fall by $2.4 billion this year, the report showed.

Ukrainian forces claimed on Thursday to have pushed forward in intense street fighting in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but said their only hope to turn the tide was more artillery to offset Russia’s massive firepower.

In the south, Ukraine’s defence ministry said it had captured new ground in a counter-attack in Kherson province, targeting the biggest swathe of territory Russia has seized since its invasion in February.

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