Food riots in poor countries could be sparked by rising global food prices as a result of the Ukraine conflict, according to the World Trade Organization’s chief.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned food-producing countries against stockpiling supplies, saying it was critical to avoid a repeat of the Covid-19 pandemic, when rich countries were able to secure the majority of vaccines for themselves, according to the Guardian.
In an interview with the Guardian, the WTO director general expressed concern about the fallout from Russia’s invasion, emphasising how many African countries rely on food supplies from the Black Sea region.
“I think we should be very worried. The impact on food prices and hunger this year and next could be substantial. Food and energy are the two biggest items in the consumption baskets of poor people all over the world,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
“It is poor countries and poor people within poor countries that will suffer the most.”
Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance minister, stated that 35 African countries rely on food imported from the Black Sea region, and that Russia and Ukraine account for 24% of global wheat supplies.