As we strive to build resilience in the wake of Covid-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is seriously disrupting international supply chains, with inflation spiralling. Russia has weaponised food supply, and while many suffer, the domino effect is rising government intervention in agricultural and food markets. Large producing countries have placed export restrictions and bans on commodities, leaving others to secure affordable food as their reserves plummet.
The United Nations predicts that the conflict in Ukraine will see acute hunger increase by 47 million people, with Sub Saharan Africa most at risk. Developed economies also run the risk of seeing the vulnerable in society falling into the trap of food insecurity, not due to lack of access, but affordability.Against this backdrop, WTO Members have agreed a joint emergency response to food insecurity and to exempt the World Food Programme from export prohibitions or restrictions.
Do open markets support food security? Does liberalised trade contribute to mitigating systemic shocks? As governments seek to intervene, can export restrictions tackle inflation? What role for the WTO in reigning-in disruptive practices?