WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — In addition to the humanitarian crisis from refugees fleeing Ukraine, Russia’s attack on the Eastern European nation is causing a global wheat shortage.
That could push the tens of millions of people over the edge who were already teetering on the edge of famine.
“Hunger always follow conflict,” said Jordan Teague with Bread for the World.
With the war in Ukraine disrupting agricultural production Teague said more than 44 million people could soon be facing famine.
“Exacerbating what was already the worse global hunger this century,” Teague said.
Russia and Ukraine are responsible for about one-third of the world’s wheat exports. Now, the expected wheat shortages could seriously impact the world’s food supply.
“The World Food Programme is having to cut rations for some people,” Teague said. “So, they’ve called it tantamount to taking from the hungry to feed the starving.”
The global wheat shortages could also drive up wheat prices here at home.
In Brussels, President Joe Biden said world leaders discussed lifting food export restrictions and trying to fill the shortage of wheat.
“We both talked about how we could increase and disseminate more rapidly,” Biden said.
Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers said the issue is complicated. The rising fuel and fertilizer prices make it more expensive to grow wheat, and U.S. farmers were already facing another big problem — a drought.
“If we don’t get moisture over the winter, we could be looking at a smaller crop coming out of our winter wheat,” Goule said.
And with no easy way to grow more, the best way for the U.S. to help is by giving more money for humanitarian aid — something Biden said the U.S. will try to do.