WAR IN UKRAINE COULD SPARK GLOBAL HUNGER CRISIS
Innovative agricultural solutions are needed as war wreaks havoc on global food system
Corey Giasson, CEO of MustGrow Biologics Corp.
March 22, 2022
FOOD SUPPLY CALAMITY
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has threatened global food supplies, as production and shipping disruptions plague key crops and fertilizers, compounding into a potential global hunger crisis. Ukraine and Russia account for more than 10% of all agricultural calories traded globally, largely via wheat, corn, and sunflower oil exports – now those shipments have virtually ceased. Commodity analysts are predicting that even if the war were to end tomorrow, shortages could persist for months.
Outside of the conflict region, governments have taken protective steps to retain their own food supplies, a move likely to accelerate food inflation. For example, Hungary, Indonesia and Argentina have each imposed trade barriers on agricultural exports in an effort to ease local food prices and secure food supplies.
PRICE SURGE WARNING FROM UNITED NATIONS
Food inflation now appears to be an all-out global crisis, usurping even the blow from Covid-19 and driving millions into potential food shortage. Wheat, corn and rice – 40% of all calories consumed – have fallen victim to rising shipping costs, energy inflation, extreme weather and labor shortages. The Russia-Ukraine war has been surging commodity prices higher, putting staple grains out of affordable reach for millions.
The price of wheat has spiked 50% since the invasion with corn now touching a decade high. The United Nations has warned that record-high global food costs (already up more than 40% over the last two years) could surge another 22% as Russia’s assault on Ukraine halts trade and mars harvests.
INNOVATION TO PROTECT OUR FOOD SUPPLY
Agriculture is poised for a surge of sustainable innovation driven by a growing population, consumer demand, war, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, climate change and adverse weather conditions.
At MustGrow Biologics, we have harnessed the mustard seed’s natural defense mechanism for treatment of diseases, pests, and weeds for both crop protection and postharvest food preservation. The active ingredient in our mustard-based approach has a positive soil health and environmental impact. It’s no surprise that healthy soil produces more robust plants which increase yields and capture and store more carbon.
We’ve been aggressively advancing our pipeline with Bayer and Sumitomo Corporation, our recently-announced global partners. The following table summarizes our crop protection and food preservation programs:
FEEDING THE WORLD
It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more than 9 billion people on this planet – some 2 billion more people to feed. The combination of population growth and changing diet will require roughly double our current number of crops (National Geographic, 2020). The mainstream rise of organic food consumption, plant-based protein, pesticide-free produce and non-GMO products are not merely trends – these are transformational shifts in how food is grown and consumed. The development of safe and effective biologicals (to replace or complement chemicals) will be critical for future food security and environmentally-sustainable agriculture. Even more so now during a time of crisis.
The MustGrow team
‘How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Is Tearing Apart the Global Food System’, Bloomberg, 13 Mar 2022, Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-13/how-russia-s-invasion-of-ukraine-is-tearing-apart-the-global-food-system (Accessed: 17 Mar 2022)
‘Record Food Prices Could Leap 22% More on Ukraine War, UN Warns’, Bloomberg, 11 Mar 2022, Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-11/record-food-prices-could-leap-22-more-on-ukraine-war-un-warns (Accessed: 17 Mar 2022
‘The World’s Next Food Emergency Is Here as War Compounds Hunger Crisis’, Bloomberg, 8 Mar 2022, Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-08/war-in-ukraine-compounds-global-food-inflation-hunger-crisis (Accessed: 17 Mar 2022)