Jeremy Meek/Fati Abubakar/Junya Inagaki/Andri Tambunan/Octavio Jones for Insider
On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, causing unimaginable death and destruction, shaking up the post-World War II global order, and setting off a humanitarian crisis in the country.
Amid the horror of war, the missile attacks, and brutal occupation, a slower-moving crisis picked up speed: a shortage of food staples, grains, and fertilizer. The invasion, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, has put the world’s food supply under unprecedented strain.
The war in Ukraine has far-reaching ramifications on the way we eat — every corner of the world is feeling it — but developing nations are bearing the brunt of the food crisis, and more struggles are sure to follow.
“If you worry about domestic politics, if you worry about environmental matters, if you worry about immigration matters, if you worry about diplomacy in the military, you should be paying attention to the food crisis, because it is lurking in the background, pushing those things,” Chris Barrett, an economist and food-policy expert at Cornell University, told Insider.
After Russia’s invasion, Insider spent the next few months unpacking what that means for consumers.
We used our network of journalists to do on-the-ground reporting in California, Florida, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Japan, and Singapore to reveal their struggles with rising costs, as well as growing, selling, and buying food. We spoke to a farmer in Kenya about what the rising costs of fertilizer means and unpacked how the climate crisis is making all our food vulnerable.
The impact of a food crisis is being felt far and wide.
Cracks in global food-supply chains
Spurred by a combination of climate and political events, food prices are climbing — and even if you’re well-fed, you should be worried about it. A global food crisis could wreak havoc on local economies and trigger civil unrest.
How climate change hurts our food supply
The climate crisis is making our food systems vulnerable, harming crop, livestock, and fisheries. Insider breaks down what this means for us, and what we can do about it.
The view from around the world
People in 13 locations opened up about the impact of rising prices on their lives. Business owners are facing existential threats, cherished foods are at risk of disappearing from local cultures, and inflation is battering consumers’ wallets.