Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting more than just gas prices. The global food supply is being damaged by the war, one CEO warned, and the cost of food is going to rise around the world.
Svein Tore Holsether of Yara International, a Norwegian chemical company that produces fertilizers, described the Ukraine conflict as “a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,” The National in the United Arab Emirates reported Tuesday.
Holsether said things could keep getting worse.
“We were already in a difficult situation before the war … and now it’s additional disruption to the supply chains and we’re getting close to the most important part of this season for the Northern hemisphere, where a lot of fertiliser needs to move on and that will quite likely be impacted,” he told the BBC.
Yara operates in more than 60 countries and buys many raw materials from Russia. Before the Ukraine invasion, fertilizer prices were high because of the increase in gas prices, but things are just set to get worse, the BBC reported.
While some might not immediately panic over fertilizer prices, Holsether reminded people that if there is not enough fertilizer, there will not be enough food.
“Half the world’s population gets food as a result of fertilisers … and if that’s removed from the field for some crops, [the yield] will drop by 50 percent,” he said.
One American farm owner told Tucker Carlson on Fox News last week that spikes in fertilizer costs eventually will hit consumers.
“Soaring fertilizer prices are likely to bring spiked food prices. If you’re upset that gas is up a dollar or two a gallon, wait until your grocery bill is up $1,000 a month,” said Ben Riensche, the owner of Blue Diamond Farming Co.
“And it might not just manifest itself in terms of price,” he said. “It could be quantity as well. Empty shelf syndrome may be starting.”
Holsether warned that it’s no longer matter of “if” there will be a crisis.
“For me, it’s not whether we are moving into a global food crisis — it’s how large the crisis will be,” he said.
Yara, in particular, relies heavily on Russia for the natural resources needed for fertilizers.
“Huge amounts of natural gas are needed to produce ammonia, the key ingredient in nitrogen fertiliser. Yara International relies on vast quantities of Russian gas for its European plants,” the BBC reported.
The company is caught in the middle, trying to mitigate a global crisis and needing the natural resources that Russia has but also wanting to condemn its invasion of Ukraine.
On top of a fertilizer crisis that would directly impact crop yields across the globe, Ukraine and Russia themselves provide a significant part of the world’s essential grains.
The two countries provide nearly 30 percent of the world’s wheat and about 20 percent of the globe’s corn, Illinois Newsroom reported.
Add that to inflation, the crisis over fertilizer and soaring gas prices (which mean transporting food will be more expensive), and this will start affecting everyone throughout the world.
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