A new pandemic has struck the world: Food inflation

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was pushed off the global front pages last fortnight by food inflation. Food prices have leaped 75 percent since mid-2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assessed.

In India, rural consumer food price has doubled in the year through March 2022, according to the All India Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the National Statistical Office (released April 12). At 13 percent, the country’s annual wholesale inflation was at its highest in a decade. Food and fuel prices played a major role.

Such is the impact of inflation that the World Food Program (WFP), currently running one of its most expansive food relief operations in recent history, made a desperate appeal for further funding. Because food inflation has significantly increased the cost of its day-to-day relief: It’s paying $71 million (Rs 544 crore) more per month now for the same operation level.

In the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, energy security came into focus. The world has been debating how the fossil fuel disruption will derail the planet’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stop global warming and resultant climate change. Fuel price is already rising and adding to the overall costs of everything, including food production and transportation.

But, the war has also disrupted food grain supply and circulation further adding to the demand-supply equation. Extreme weather events continue to affect large swathes of areas growing food and thus bringing down overall production. To sum up, the most fundamental survival need is at stake.

This crisis exposes the globalized world’s another fault line. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, an interconnected globalized world suddenly woke up to a situation where every country retreated and scrambled for self-protection; expectedly the rich world jealously colonized all resources needed to fight the pandemic leaving the rest helpless.

The food sector is also interconnected and interdependent, though perilously. WFP calls its aftermath a “seismic hunger crisis” gripping the world. In Africa and west Asia, the hunger crisis has already set in.

The World Bank has warned that each percentage point increase in food prices would push an additional 10 million people into extreme poverty. The impact of food inflation is impacting the world’s poor and developing countries the most because most of these countries are also food importers. For instance, some 50 countries, mostly poor countries, depend on Ukraine and Russia for wheat, and staple grain. (Source: DowntoEarth, April 2022)

Question: In your opinion, how global food crisis will have an impact on consumer purchasing power in the future?  words of 1500


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