Ukrainian and Russian wheat has been crucial for the Middle East's food security.

War in Ukraine
A food crisis in the MENA region?

With Vladimir Putin’s forces gaining ground in Ukraine, a further increase in the price of bread could severely destabilise MENA countries. Rising costs would inevitably challenge states such as Turkey, which imports essential cereal supplies from Russia and Ukraine. The same applies to most economies in the Arab world, such as Egypt – the world’s largest wheat importer – Algeria, and Tunisia

Spiralling food costs and a similarly intense rise in energy prices have flared widespread public anger, specifically in relation to bread which is a politically charged commodity.

Morocco is less dependent on cereal imports than its Maghreb neighbours but is experiencing its worst drought in decades. As a result, a surge in food costs could force the kingdom to increase imports and subsidies.

As the largest importers of barley globally from Ukraine and Russia, oil-rich monarchies like Saudi Arabia fear a severe impact on their livestock industry.

Nonetheless, war-torn and fragile states that are dangerously close to famine, such as Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, would probably face the worst outcomes. With the conflict unfolding in Ukraine, these countries are likely to face swift food prices increase that, in turn, could exacerbate the appalling humanitarian conditions.



Overview of who buys wheat from whom (source: DW)
With a war at the doorstep of the European Union, global cereal supplies are now facing shocks unseen in decades. Today, Russia and Ukraine together account for 29% of the world’s wheat supply. As the escalating conflict between Moscow and Kyiv has further increased the threat of food insecurity, grain-importing countries must prepare for the far-reaching end of supply
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