Peter S. Goodman reported Sunday in the New York Times that “Suleiman Chubado is not entirely clear on the cause of the fertilizer prices have more than doubled over the past year, but he is bitterly aware of the consequences. On his northeast farm Nigeriahe can no longer afford to buy enough fertilizer, so his corn is stunted and pale, the scrawny plants lean toward the powdery earth.
“As he and his neighbors commiserate over the calamity unfolding across a large part of Africathey exchange theories on a source of problems: Russia’s war against Ukraine, which disrupted shipments of key fertilizer ingredients.
“’We are in two different worlds, separated by planes and oceans,’ Mr. Chubado said. “How can this affect us here? »
The Times article noted that “this issue reverberates throughout many low-income countries. Farmers grapple with shocks that have made fertilizer scarce and unaffordablediminishing harvests, rising food prices and the spread of hunger.
“The war in Ukraine has reduced the cereal exports from the region and caused the price of basic commodities like wheat to skyrocket Egypt in Indonesia. The world’s food supply is also threatened by the ravages of climate change — heatwaves, droughts, floods.
Today, scarce and expensive fertilizers combine with these other forces to threaten livelihoods.
Goodman explained that “the collapse of fertilizer production challenges the orthodoxy that has dominated international trade for decades. Prominent economists have defended globalization as insurance against upheaval. When factories in one location cannot produce goods, they can be summoned elsewhere. Yet while farmers in Africa and parts of Asia face fertilizer shortagetheir anguish reflects a less celebrated aspect of the interdependent economy: Shared dependence on vital products from dominant suppliers creates widespread danger when shocks occur.”
The Times article stated: “The crisis began with the Covid-19 pandemicwhich increased the cost of transporting fertilizer ingredients. Then came the war. Finally, over the past 18 months, the US Federal Reserve has taken aggressive steps to interest rates raised to stifle domestic inflation. Who has caused the value of the US dollar to rise against many currencies. Because fertilizer components are valued in dollarsthey have become enormously more expensive in countries like Nigeria.
“Since February 2022, fertilizer prices have more than doubled in Nigeria and 13 other countriesaccording to a investigation by ActionAid, an international humanitarian group. Concerned food insecurity has been “at an alarming level” across much of West and Central Africa, according to a report. World Bank Bulletin.”
And Friday, Rodney Jefferson of Bloomberg reported that, “Food has long been a political issue, hunger a revolutionary force.”
“Call it dinner table politicswhich is now also playing out in a series of key elections around the world,” the Bloomberg article said.
Jefferson said: “All world leaders know that food security is fundamental to their political survival. However, in a context of increasing global upheaval, many are finding it much more difficult to guarantee this guarantee.»
In the meantime, Stanley Reed, New York Times writer reported in Thursday’s newspaper that “Natural gas prices surged this week in Europe on concerns about supplies resulting from conflicts in Israel and Ukraine.
And Ian Johnston reported Thursday in the Financial Times Online that “European gas prices reached their highest level since March on Thursday as traders feared global energy supplies would be affected by pipeline disruptions and conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The FT article noted that “these movements are the latest shock to a market that has been unstable since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Prices have fallen from a peak of more than €300 per megawatt hour in August 2022 and Europe has largely filled its gas stocks ahead of winter, protecting it from further disruption.
“But continued increases will push up prices for businesses and consumers once the continent’s winter stocks decline. While oil markets have largely ignored the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict, traders worry about threats to supplies around the world.”