World (The Times Groupe)- Countries worldwide have been taking protectionist measures as fears of a global food inflation crisis rise.
Food prices have therefore reached record highs, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index increasing 12.6% in March over February and 33.6% over March 2021 — an all-time high.
Since the beginning of the year, wheat prices have increased by over 60%.
While the pandemic was underway, World Trade Organization figures show that the EU, Argentina, Anguilla, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Poland, Romania, Gambia, Indonesia, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland, and Uzbekistan took several measures, including suspension of exports and the lifting of import tariffs.
Additionally, the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan, banned exports of many agricultural products in 2020, the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Russia also banned or limited sugar, grain, and edible oil exports this year, while Kazakhstan also banned wheat and flour exports until June 15.
The second largest economy in the world, China, has also introduced protectionist policies.
As a result of previously banning the export of phosphate fertilizers, the country began increasing its food stocks, particularly grains.
Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Argentina stopped exporting soybean oil and soybean pulp.
Ukraine banned the export of wheat, corn, sunflower oil, and fertilizers.
Exports of grain were stopped by Hungary; edible oil, sugar, and wheat by Algeria; legumes, peanuts, and peas and beans by Egypt; rice, maize, and corn by Cameroon; and wheat by India.
Indonesia, the largest palm oil producer, limited exports of palm oil.
Access to food is at risk due to protectionist policies, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, while leading institutions make negative predictions about world trade.