Agriculture leaders say new figures from the International Monetary Fund should underscore the need for heightened awareness of an issue familiar to many who have long been active in the global hunger space.
Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton administration, says global food security is nothing new and that this issue should have had more attention brought to it in years past.
Speaking on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Glickman said Russia's invasion of Ukraine has finally captured foreign governments' attention surrounding the global food crisis.
“The fact that the Ukraine and Russia are such big factors in the global grain market, particularly of wheat and sunflower oil, I think the IMF has now finally recognized the importance of food security in the world,” said Glickman.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday lowered its forecast for global economic growth this year to 3.6%, a reduction from IMF’s January estimate of 4.4% and down from 6.1% growth in 2021.
Globally, IMF said food prices are expected to rise 14% this year.
“It's a pretty big deal in terms of long-term food security for not only the developed world, but particularly the developing world, where you can have a lot of political instability and crises, famine, and war,” said Glickman.
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Other agriculture industry leaders are also keeping an eye on the global hunger situation.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture Kip Tom expressed concerns over the numbers that IMF released, saying he has heard estimates higher than what the IMF released.
“Those that are most affected are those that can least afford high price food,” quoted Tom, “This could actually be much worse than the Arab Spring back in 2010 and 2012. The potential setup is there.”
Krysta Harden, a former USDA deputy secretary and current head of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, added that the increasing supply chain issues are only going to add to the problem of increasing food prices worldwide.
“It exacerbates the situation, I think, for the U.S. trying to get products out. There is demand for our products — dairy and everything frankly, but we've got to get products to customers,” said Harden.
Demand is strong for American products, but an ongoing drought could present challenges for the supply of American row crops used around the world.
Oilseed industry analyst John Baize also expressed concerns regarding the impact dry weather in the U.S. could have on the global supply of commodities available.
“If we don’t have a good crop that could be, we could be looking at well over $10 corn and $20 soybeans," he said. "And what will that do to global demand? I mean, the demand destruction that we're already probably seeing in China and elsewhere, is gonna get worse and you're gonna see a lot of people running into trouble in the livestock sector, as of course for human consumption.”
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