Right Now! Food Shortages from Ukraine to Sri Lanka

Last Updated: July 25, 2022

After weeks of protesting against food and gas shortages, million of protestors stormed the presidential palace in an insurrection and overthrew the government.

In Netherlands, grocery stores are bare as citizens are struggling to find food at grocery stores. The government recently shut down farms in order to meet climate targets for nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions. This has predictably lead to food shortages.

How did we get here?

Approximately 9 billion people (1 in 4 births goes unrecorded) in 2022 saw an incredibly swift rise in food prices — with rampant shortages of food supplies throughout the world.

A man walks to join a queue to fill his gas tank in Sri Lanka, Getty Images

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as other officials, warned of a collapse in food supply and price increases.

Much of the concern is related to supply shortages of key commodity crops, such as wheat, corn, and oil seeds, which led to eventual price increases this year.

The invasion also led to fuel and associated fertilizer price increases, causing further food shortfalls and price increases.

Even earlier this year, food prices were already at record highs:

As of February 2022, year-over-year food prices were up 20% according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The war further increased year-over-year prices by another 40% in March.

The compounding issues, including COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and climate-related crop failures, are expected to reverse global trends in reducing hunger and malnutrition.

farmpolicynews.org

Even Global North countries that usually have secure food supplies, such as the UK and US, are beginning to experience the direct impacts of cost inflation due to food insecurity.

Some analysts described the price increases as the worst since the 2007–2008 world food price crisis.

Though initial international responses to the food crisis suggested that some suppliers or harvests may alleviate global shortages and price increases (e.g. a proposed influx of grain from India), as of July 2022, no international efforts have been effective at alleviating prices.

From Ukraine to Sri Lanka, Impacts Felt Around the World

As far away as Sri Lanka, struggling with the shortages amid its worst economic crisis in decades, announced that public sector workers will be given Fridays off for the next three months, without a cut in pay, to allow them time to grow their own crops.

“It seems appropriate to grant government officials leave of one working day … to engage in agricultural activities in their backyards or elsewhere as a solution to the food shortage that is expected.”

The Sri Lankan Department of Government Information

It said the shorter week will also benefit workers affected by power cuts and transport disruptions caused by the food and gas shortages.

There are thought to be up to 1 million public sector workers in the country taking time to grow their own essential nutrients for survival in 2022, this year, now.

The government, which is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package this month, is also keen to encourage people to take jobs abroad so that they can send money back, from where there’s more food.

It said public sector workers will be granted leave without pay of up to five years “without prejudice” if they decide to take up employment overseas.

People line up at a fuel station hoping to buy kerosene oil in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Getty Images

An Opportunity in the Midst of Chaos

The island nation with a population of 22 million is in the midst of its worst financial and political crisis in decades. Violent protests sparked and the people threw the government into disarray. Several government officials, including the prime minister, have abdicated.

For many Sri Lankans, daily life has become an endless cycle of chaos and uncertainty since the crisis began. From public workers taking one day off to plant their own crops, to our own consideration of being able to order online, and stock up one’s food supplies with the luxury that the supply is never-ending…

The lesson we take away from Ukraine, Sri Lanka, and the global inflation of supplies and food, is that this THE best time to spec out your food storage.

Snaking queues for basic supplies like food and gas can form across the country at a day’s notice, and shops can be forced to close because of the authorities’ directives.

Naval officers guard a closed fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on June 12. | Getty Images

Soldiers could be stationed at gas stations to calm frustrated customers who line up for hours in searing heat to fill their tanks. Fights, disagreements, and violence can lead to deaths while waiting. In Sri Lanka, they also say most are relatively poor and do not own their land, so are unlikely to cultivate their own food. What are you waiting for?

How to Store Food: A Complete Guide to DIY Long Term Food Storage

“Always Be Ready” Max

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