Global supply issues related to the pandemic and war in Ukraine have highlighted yet another global vulnerability — food availability. A new University of California, Davis, study sheds light on how trade, and centrality in the global wheat trade network, affect food security. The study shows that many countries depend on trade to fulfill their food needs. Further, the global wheat trade is concentrated in a handful of countries whereby disruption in only a few countries would have global impacts, researchers suggest.
“Food grains — wheat, maize and rice — account for over 50% of human caloric consumption and underpin global food security. With conflict between Russia and the breadbasket of Ukraine, global fear about food shortages is sounding alarms,” said Brinkley, co-author of the study. “War in Ukraine, for example, combined with supply chain issues, have contributed to price increases in cereal grains and food prices globally, but especially in the Global South where countries rely on cereal imports,” Raj added. This area encompasses Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and the developing countries in Asia, including the Middle East.