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Amanda Little

Food Is Just as Vital as Oil to National Security

Amid all the talk about U.S. energy independence, few have fretted over the vulnerability of agriculture imports needed to feed Americans.

We need to talk more about food security.

We need to talk more about food security.

Source: Bloomberg

While Putin’s war in Ukraine is delivering shocks to the energy market and driving up fertilizer prices, the bigger problem has become the soaring cost of wheat. Russia is steering the world toward an increasingly severe food security crisis — compounding the shortages already caused by the pandemic and climate change.

More than 70% of Ukraine is prime agricultural land that produces a major share of the world’s wheat, as well as its corn, barley, rye, sunflower oil and potatoes. Ukraine’s crop exports to the European Union, China, India and throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East are plummeting as Russian forces paralyze Ukrainian ports. They could soon cease altogether. Meanwhile, heavy Western sanctions are disrupting the flow of crop exports from Russia, the world’s top wheat producer.