The looming food crisis
The war in Ukraine has destabilized the world food market since its outbreak. Large stocks of wheat cannot be exported, and some of it is reportedly being stolen by Russia. Through the voice of its former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russia, which represents one third of the world's wheat exports with Ukraine, has indicated that it may only export to countries that are "friends of Russia," suggesting that its agricultural capacity might be used for political and diplomatic purposes.
This situation has led to a considerable increase in agricultural prices since March 2022, more than 30% above the same level a year earlier. The price of wheat has jumped 60% since the beginning of the year. Several countries have already taken steps to reduce or even ban their exports of agricultural products to other countries, from wheat to palm oil, from corn to sunflower seeds, preferring to keep food sources at home. In Europe, these market malfunctions will fuel inflation and could, coupled with an increase in energy prices, trigger a social crisis as serious as that of the yellow vests in France.