When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: food crisis

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How The War Is Doing Long-Term Damage To Ukraine's Fertile Soil

Ukraine's fertile soils used to feed the world. But even when the war ends, food production will take decades to recover because of damage to the land.

KYIV — After the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, most of the world's consumers of agricultural products such as wheat, sunflower oil and corn suddenly learned that most of these products were grown in Ukraine. They also discovered that this is a country whose fertile lands feed a significant part of Africa and Europe.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Without its wheat and sunflowers, many all over the world will starve to death. So, the war in Ukraine has become a world war. And even when the hostilities end, Ukraine will not be able to immediately resume feeding the world, as Russian troops are destroying the basis of its agriculture — chernozem soil.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, during the war in Ukraine, significantly degraded agricultural land increased by 13%. A significant percentage of the land is at risk of degradation. Scientists call it ecocide – the deliberate destruction of Ukraine's ecosystem. More than 200,000 hectares of territories in the combat zone are contaminated with mines, shells, and debris.

Watch Video Show less

In Uganda, Having A "Rolex" Is About Not Going Hungry

Experts fear the higher food prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine could jeopardize the health of many Ugandans. Take a look at this ritzy-named simple dish.

WAKISO — Godfrey Kizito takes a break from his busy shoe repair shop every day so he can enjoy his favorite snack, a vegetable and egg omelet rolled in a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex. But for the past few weeks, this daily ritual has given him neither the satisfaction nor the sustenance he is used to consuming. Kizito says this much-needed staple has shrunk in size.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Most streets and markets in Uganda have at least one vendor firing up a hot plate ready to cook the Rolex, short for rolled eggs — which usually comes with tomatoes, cabbage and onion and is priced anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 Ugandan shillings (28 to 57 cents). Street vendor Farouk Kiyaga says many of his customers share Kizito’s disappointment over the dwindling size of Uganda’s most popular street food, but Kiyaga is struggling with the rising cost of wheat and cooking oil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has halted exports out of the two countries, which account for about 26% of wheat exports globally and about 80% of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, pushing prices to an all-time high, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. Not only oil and wheat are affected. Prices of the most consumed foods worldwide, such as meat, grains and dairy products, hit their highest levels ever in March, making a nutritious meal even harder to buy for those who already struggle to feed themselves and their families. The U.N. organization warns the conflict could lead to as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026.

Keep reading... Show less

Mongolia, How The "Switch To Austerity” Sparked A National Uprising

The Asian country is experiencing record inflation and soaring food costs as imports dry up due to the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ULAANBAATAR — In the shadows of an immense statue of Chinggis Khaan, the founder of the Mongol empire, thousands gather. They stand outside the Government Palace to demand officials remedy the ever-increasing cost of living.

A young demonstrator holds up a mirror, asking if Mongolian government officials can bear to look themselves in the face, while others chant “Do your job” during the two-day dissent in April. The protest signals a breaking point for citizens who struggle to keep up with rising costs. They accuse the government of neglecting its duty to remedy the situation and forcing people to consider fleeing the country.

Keep reading... Show less

Sri Lanka: How Protecting The Environment Is Killing Agriculture

When Sri Lanka banned agrochemicals last year, the law’s impact on the island’s ability to feed itself was immediately evident. As political upheaval continues in the capital, here's a related back story in the countryside with global implications.

CHEDDIKULAM, SRI LANKA — Sellan Yogarasa returned to Sri Lanka in 2014, after more than two decades of exile in India. He leased nine acres of agricultural land and began growing rice, a staple food for the island’s 22 million inhabitants. A harvest typically yielded about 288 bags of paddy, each weighing 25 kilograms (55 pounds), enough for a decent livelihood. But overnight this calculus crumbled for Sellan — and for many others in the Sri Lankan labor force, over a third of whom are involved in the paddy sector.

In May 2021, the government banned agrochemicals, with the professed aim of becoming the world’s first country free of chemical fertilizer. A year on, as the country reaps the consequences of that decision — while also grappling with a broader economic crisis that has led to warnings of an impending food shortage and set off the past month of political upheaval.

Keep reading... Show less
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Oleksandr Decyk

Beyond Wheat: How Russia's Blockade Undermines The Entire Global Food Chain

Russia's blockade of the Black Sea has sent food prices skyrocketing around the globe, with poorer countries being affected most severely. But if the blockade continues, then the cost of a vast variety of foods looks set to go even higher.

KYIV — The longer Russia continues its naval blockade of Ukraine's ports along the Black Sea, the louder the alarm grows about hunger for millions of people around the world. The blockade poses systemic threats to global food security, with developing countries being affected most severely.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

As a report by the UN Development Program makes clear: "The consequences of the war in Ukraine have disrupted energy and food markets. Among many other factors, supply chain disruptions and price spikes for key commodities are pushing the world into a dangerous inflationary spike. This will have immediate and devastating effects on household welfare, with those in poverty and near-poverty will be hit hardest."

Watch Video Show less
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Andrei Prakh

What Russians Fear The Most (And It's Not Escalation In Ukraine)

An annual report has revealed Russians' anxieties. This year, contracting COVID has been replaced by food shortages, inflation, and internet blackouts.

MOSCOW — A recent report has revealed what Russians fear most. Carried out by the CROS agency (Public Relations Development Agency), the report traces Russian citizens' primary concerns over the first three months of the so-called "special military operation".

High on the list were fears caused by the blocking of Western social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (now only available via VPN) or the departure of foreign brands from the Russian market. So too was the issue of food shortages, which has dominated the minds of Russians since February. The issue has become so prevalent that it may be called a “pseudophobia,” the study says.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The findings mark a sharp change from those published in 2021, which ranged from fears of contracting COVID to having freedoms limited by Russia’s harsh imposition of QR codes for entry into public places.

Fears caused by inflation and the increase in the number of violent crimes also came up high.

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Putin Declares Victory In Luhansk, July 4 Shooting, Dry Italy

👋 નમસ્તે!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Putin declares victory in Luhansk, a 22-year-old man is arrested in connection with the July 4 Parade shooting that killed six north of Chicago, and New Zealand is batting for equal pay. Meanwhile, from Dijon mustard to potatoes by way of pasta, we look at food shortages around the world.

[*Namaste - Gujarati, India]

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and McKenna Johnson

Russia Sentences 2 Britons To Death, Capitol Riots Hearing, Spanish Steps Oopsie

👋 Lasso fyafulla!*

Welcome to Friday, where two British prisoners are sentenced to death in eastern Russian-occupied Ukraine, the committee investigating the U.S. Capitol Riot holds its first hearing and tourists get a hefty fine for damaging a Rome landmark. Meanwhile, Russian daily Kommersant looks at how the global food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine can be stopped.

[*Tamang - Nepal]

Watch Video Show less
Geopolitics
Ivan Yakunin

Yes, The War Has Caused A Major Food Crisis — But Russia Can't Fix It Alone

For many countries, the global food crisis has already begun. As enough food to feed the world for several weeks remains trapped in Ukraine, Russia and Turkey met to discuss the problem. But they cannot solve it alone, says independent Russian media Kommersant.

MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Ankara to talk to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu this week to discuss Ukrainian grain. Lavrov tried to strike an optimistic tone: "Our military is in contact with Turkish friends to discuss the details of these processes, these initiatives. There have never been any obstacles from our side to solve this problem... If the position of authorities in Kyiv has matured, we will only be happy to cooperate."

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Turkey has reported that the Ukrainian side is ready to clear mines from its harbors, which the Russians say has prevented exports, Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported.

Watch Video Show less