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How the War in Ukraine is Creating a Global Food Crisis

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 5 April 2022

⏱️ 22 minutes

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Ukraine and Russia are enormous producers of wheat, corn, barley, sunflower oil and fertilizer. One study calculated that the two countries accounted for 12 percent of the world’s calories. With Ukraine under attack and Russia hit with strict sanctions, a huge supply of food is suddenly trapped — with Africa and the Middle East particularly imperiled. Guest: Jack Nicas, the Brazil bureau chief for The New York Times.

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From New York Times, I'm Michael Borrow. This is a Daily.


Today, how Russia's invasion of Ukraine is creating a food crisis across the world.


My colleague, Jack Niggas, reports from Brazil. Plus, the latest on alleged Russian atrocities


in the town of Buccia. It's Tuesday, April 5.


Jack, you are the Bureau Chief in Brazil. So how is it that you became involved in reporting


on the fallout from the war in Ukraine?


Well, when the war started almost immediately, it became a story here in Brazil. And that's


because Brazil is a major producer of the world's food. And it's a major importer of Russian


fertilizer. And so when sanctions hit Russia, it became an issue for Brazilian farmers


getting Russian fertilizer. And very quickly, the soybean farmers association here in Brazil


told its farmers to start limiting the use of fertilizer because there was an expected


shortage because of the war. I then realized that there was a much, much larger story here.


It's not just Brazil. It's not just Russian fertilizer, but Russia and Ukraine are central


to the world's food supply. And this sort of disruption was not playing out just in Brazil,


but it was playing out in countries across the planet. And the war had really disrupted


how the world feeds itself. Jack, just how central are Russia and Ukraine to the world's


food supply? Explain that.


Ukraine and Russia are together enormous producers of wheat, corn, barley, which is a major


animal feed, sunflower oil, which is a really important cooking oil in many parts of the


world. And also fertilizer. And just to give you a sense, together they account for nearly


30% of the world's wheat exports. And that wheat helps feed billions of people in the form


of bread and flour and pasta and package goods. One study calculated that Russia and Ukraine


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