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University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

The War in Ukraine, Food Prices and the World’s Poor

March 31, 2022
Jennifer Burney and Stephan Haggard


In analysis for Political Violence At A Glance, an IGCC-supported blog dedicated to political violence and its alternatives, Jennifer Burney, Associate Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) at UC San Diego, and IGCC affiliate Stephan Haggard, who is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Distinguished Professor at GPS, analyze the effects of the conflict in Ukraine on food prices and availability. 

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is clear for all to see, and has created a sense of powerlessness as the death toll mounts. However, there is a second less visible humanitarian front now opening that threatens a much greater loss of life beyond Ukraine’s borders. Food prices around the world are rising at rates not seen in over a decade and concerns are mounting over a real supply shock in the coming year. These developments threaten not only hunger, malnutrition and famine in countries that are already most vulnerable, but also urban political violence and worsening conditions in war-torn countries.

Because of the geopolitical implications of energy sanctions for Europe, headlines on commodity prices have naturally focused on oil and gas markets. But the FAO food price index—which shows monthly price changes in a basket of commodities—had already risen to an all-time high in February, before the full effects of the war in Ukraine were visible. More recent data for individual commodities—tracked by Trading Economics—shows prices spiraling to levels not seen since past crises. These pre-invasion trends were driven primarily by vegetable oil, where droughts and floods last year led to major stock depletion and price surges.

Read the full blog post at Political Violence At A Glance

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