Ayan Hassan Abdulrahman now pays twice the amount it cost a year ago to purchase the wheat flour she uses for breakfast every day for her 11 children in Somalia’s capital.
Nearly all of the wheat sold in Somalia is from Russia and Ukraine, who have stopped exports through Black Sea since Moscow declared war on its neighbor Feb. 24, 2014. It couldn't have been worse timing: U.N. warned that 13 million people in Horn of Africa were at risk of starvation due to a prolonged drought.
Abdirahman tried to substitute sorghum for her flatbread, as it is a more easily available grain. However, inflation has caused the price of the oil she uses to make her flatbread to soar. A jar that cost $16 once is now worth $45 on the Mogadishu markets.
She says that "the cost of living is high today, making it difficult to even afford flour or oil."
Haji Abdi Dhiblawe is a Somalian businessman who imports wheat flour to Somalia. He fears that the situation will get worse. There is also a shortage of shipping containers for food supplies from other countries.
He says that Somalians don't have the right conditions to grow wheat and aren't even aware of how to do it. "Our primary concern is now what the future holds for us when we run out of supplies."
"Acute hunger has reached unprecedented heights and the global situation is only getting worse." Conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19, as well as rising food and fuel prices, have created a storm. And now, we have the war in Ukraine, adding to the chaos," warned David Beasley, WFP Executive Director.
UNICEF estimates that even the cost of therapeutic food to malnourished children may rise by 16% in the next six months due to disruptions related the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
According to U.N. statistics, 44% of African countries imported wheat from Russia or Ukraine between 2018-2020. According to U.N. figures, the African Development Bank already reports a 45% rise in wheat prices in Africa. This means that everything from couscous made in Mauritania and fried donuts made in Congo is more expensive.
Macky Sall, President of Senegalese, stated that Africa has no control over its production and logistics chains. He also said that he would travel to Russia and Ukraine in order to address the issue of rising prices.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, pressed the West to lift sanctions on Moscow for the war in Ukraine. He sought to shift blame from Russia for the growing global food crisis. This was made worse by Ukraine's inability of shipping millions of tonnes of grain while it was under attack.