Image Source: CNBC
The UN Special Advocate Queen Maxima of the Netherlands said that hikes in food and energy prices are cause for concern. The conditions greatly affect families, which may lead to instability across many regions around our world.
Recently, the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook reported that there is an expected 50% increase in energy prices for this year, while the price of wheat would rise by 40% or more.
“An increase of food prices of the magnitude that we’re seeing, of energy prices, basically will mean that a lot of families are going to have from three or two meals a day to have one meal a day. And this, in turn, will actually give, probably, will be the source of even more instability in other regions. So that worries me a lot,” Maxima said in an interview.
She added, “We’re going to be seeing now because of inflation, but we’re going to be seeing also in the next year because when you don’t have fertilizers, you cannot increase your yield. So, therefore, you’re going to see less produce coming out from Africa, which actually feeds each other there. So, you’re going to have less food, so the prices are even probably going to go up by even more, so very worrying.”
What adds to the problem, says Maxima, is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine – countries that are major sources of imports for many countries across the globe. The banning of exportation from these countries is what led to the increase in prices of commodities.
“Well, sadly, the concern is not only the conflict in and by itself, but in my role in financial inclusion for development, which is I want to reduce poverty, I want more girls to go to school, I want more people to have better futures.”
Maxima told reporters that the pandemic is what catapulted global poverty rates to unprecedented heights, but with digitalization comes some hope for citizens.
“A lot of governments when the pandemic and the lockdown started, thought … this is the way for us to send money to the poorest and the most vulnerable people, that had to stay locked down, they couldn’t go to the markets and sell their produce, and this was a very important issue,” Maxima said.
“So many, many countries have increased this, I would say, government-to-people payments in these two years, and they’ve actually discovered this financial inclusion tool to actually do a lot more other goals that they’re trying to attain.”
The looming crisis concerning food shortages will be a problem for many countries in these coming months, said Maxima. The governments of the world should prepare and do everything they can so their respective citizens will not experience the worst.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.