The war in Ukraine has led to an explosion in global food prices.

Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine accounted for 10% of global exports of wheat, 13% of barley, more than 50% of sunflower oil, 5% of rapeseed oil and 15% of corn. But these deliveries have now been disrupted on a massive scale, because Russia is blockading Ukrainian ports and bombing its grain storage facilities. In April, the global FAO food price index was already 30% higher year on year and 62% higher than in 2020 on average. And threats to this year’s harvest mean that additional price spikes are looming.

Higher food prices affect consumers all over the world. But poor countries are especially vulnerable. Because they already must spend the lion’s share of their income on food, they simply cannot compete with other countries when prices rise. Increased poverty, hunger, starvation and widespread protests will become inevitable.