The list of countries facing severe food crises is getting longer. Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Niger, Burkina Faso, Haiti, South Sudan – and the list goes on. Ireland is not immune to the fragility of the global food system, and this conflict shows just how deeply connected our food systems are.
The ‘new’ shocks caused by the increased costs of oil and gas have a knock effect on the cost of basic supplies around the world, and here in Ireland, the price of staples such as bread has increased by up to 30%. But the truth is that our experience pales in comparison to those caught up in conflict, the most ferocious driver of food insecurity.
Hunger drives conflict when conflict is seen as a way to survive – when land is being stolen, and cattle are raided and resources like precious metals, oil and water are at stake. And there is nothing more powerful than conflict in driving hunger.
For millions of people who are still stuck in Ukraine, the prospect of critical food insecurity - something that was completely unheard of in what was the breadbasket of Europe - is now a very real threat.
It has never been so important to recognise the fragility of our food systems, and to proactively mitigate against the worsening food security crisis. Food and peace are inextricably linked, and as a country with experience of hunger and conflict, we must play our part in addressing these twin scourges. Food security is no longer about the 811 million people who go hungry every day and the 41 million people who are at risk of famine.
It is about all of us.