Global food insecurity has reached levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008, according to Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence, a global company that uses artificial intelligence and public and private data to predict food supply trends.
She told the UN that the world has about 10 weeks’ worth of wheat on hand.
While addressing a special meeting of the Security Council on Saturday, she said that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was not the cause of the food security crisis but “simply added fuel to a fire that was long burning.”
The expert pointed to widespread fertilizer shortages, supply-chain issues and record droughts as the major reasons behind the crisis.
“This isn’t cyclical. This is seismic,” Menker said, noting that “even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn’t going away anytime soon without concerted action.”READ MORE: Global ‘wheat war’ is coming – media
She stressed that “without aggressive global actions, we stand the risk of an extraordinary amount of human suffering and economic damage.”
The grain crisis is being felt across the globe as wheat prices have surged to record highs over the past two months. Major producers such as Russia, Kazakhstan and India have scrapped exports to protect their domestic markets, while Ukraine’s supplies are in danger due to the ongoing conflict. This has sparked fears of food insecurity and hunger around the world.
The executive director for the UN’s World Food Programme, David Beasley, had earlier said that 49 million people in 43 countries are already “knocking on famine’s door.”