Ukraine war has hit the world hard
The war in Ukraine has upset the European Union. Russia's oil and natural gas exports have been very important for the EU. The war has hit hard Africa too.
War is invariably a scourge for the mankind. It is more so in the contemporary age characterised by an increasing interdependence of modern nations. In no war today can any part of the world remain completely unaffected. Russia's invasion of Ukraine since February this year is a case in point.
Observers say the Russian invasion has had adverse effects on life and economy the world over. Ukraine is an immediate victim of the invasion. The conflict has caused large-scale population displacement in the country and widespread damage to its infrastructure. It has internally displaced approximately 1.4 million people. Over 2.9 million people in eastern Ukraine have been in need of humanitarian assistance from abroad.
The war in Ukraine has upset the European Union. Russia's oil and natural gas exports have been very important for the EU. The war has hit hard Africa too. Most of the factories in the continent had been deriving raw materials from Russia. The embargo imposed by the West on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war has brought this to a halt. This has led to an increase in the prices of basic necessities -- such as cement, iron, coal and gas -- in the continent .
Most importantly, the Ukraine war has interrupted the flow of food items from Eastern Europe to Africa. Many African nations rely on Russia (and Ukraine) for their wheat consumption. The war-resultant supply shock has spiked the price of replacement wheat in the region.
The observers add food insecurity has been a constant phenomenon in the African continent. Since the 1960s, agricultural productivity has increased in several parts of the world. Regrettably, this has eluded the continent. Africa imports food worth $23 billion a year.
The continent needs to introduce agricultural reforms to attain food sufficiency. Presently, the African farmers do not grow much. Most of them work on small plots of land, often less than a hectare. They manage their farming often without appropriate irrigation and fertilizer.
Besides, Africa needs to save its climate in order to boost its agricultural productivity. Maize accounts for about 30 per cent in the sub-Saharan Africa eat today. Its cultivation demands the temperatures of the region not to exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Every additional degree above 30 Celsius would be cutting crop yield by at least one per cent.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
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