The world is facing a potential food crisis, with soaring prices and millions in danger of severe hunger, as the war in Ukraine threatens supplies of key staple crops, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns.
The prospect that the Black Sea grain trade will be permanently affected, or that entire regions may not be cultivated, is fuelling speculation, given that the Russian and Ukrainian plains account for 7% of world production but 24% of grain exports.
It's a two pronged problem ... Ukraine may not be able to gather in the harvest and Russia is under sanctions, UN Secretary Antonio Guterres said on Monday.
"Food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing. Supply chains are being disrupted. And the costs and delays of transportation of imported goods when available are at record levels. And all of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe." Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general.
And that unrest is already happening. In Sudan thousands protested in the capital and several other cities against a rapid deterioration in living conditions, including a sharp rise in the price of bread.
On Sunday the main food staple for most Sudanese, rose by more than 40 per cent.